tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN June 18, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EDT
bush sr. was that rnc at the time of watergate and went over to china and let things die out and he came back when ford made him head of the cia. our troubles started in 1980 in detroit when ronald reagan was accepted to run for the republican party. host: we are getting a little off track. you brought up a point that george h. w. bush was ahead of the rnc during the nixon administration. was there any connection between the president and they had a of the rnc and how much did the future president know about what was going on inside the white house? guest: he did not know much about what was going on in the white house that that is a great question. there was a story that tried to follow the trail. they discovered that the town house a fair run by roy gleason
and how he went and gave money to a candidate and that became leverage until the candidate broke a new low when he took that cache, this is from dick and pat nixon, police and kept those records and receipts so they could prove the money had been given to the candidates and later used for blackmail. that box of receipts was given a gleason to george bush at the head of the cia. lowell weicker contended that bush called him and asked him what to do with these things. that is the sort of thing that in the watergate era would become a big scandal. today, not so much. we were almost trigger happy about any little thing that was said and done in that era. it could lead to charges and had lunch and scandal. when it came up years later, it went nowhere. host: doug weed is a
presidential historian and author. you can go to dougweed.com. coming up on tomorrow's edition of "the washington journal," a political discussion and a white house reporter with "the wall street journal." we will talk arturo munoz, a political scientist with the rand corporation about the status of al-qaeda since the may 1 killing of osama bin laden. we will also havejohn heimlich with the air transport association and he will break down airline fees and which airlines make the most. thune into tomorrow's edition of "the washington journal at 7:00 a.m. eastern. we will see you then. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up today and cspan in about one hour, the house transportation committee examines tour bus safety in the wake of several recent fatal crashes. in tibet, our day long live coverage continues at the republican leadership conference taking place in new orleans. speakers expected include prospective presidential candidate buddy roemer, texas governor rick perry. tennessee rep marsha blackburn and rnc chairman reince preibus. next, a discussion on the future of media and telecommunications from the national cable and tele-communications association's annual cable show which took place last week in chicago.
this is one hour. ♪ >> this is a big crowd. they are all excited back there. we brought the cable guys and the content guys in. before we get started, i want to say how lucky we all are that the cable industry has this new leader, michael powell. he is unmatched in his ability and expertise to distill everything that matters to the cable industry. let's hear it for michael powell. [applause] the cable guys are excited to
show you what the big issues are. we put this together in an interesting way. three cable, three content, less in our panelists. >> first, the chairman and ceo of time warner inc., jeff hukas. [applause] next, the chairman and ceo of time warner cable, glenn britt. deputy chairman and ceo of news corp., chase perry. [applause] the president and ceo of viacom inc., philippe dauman. the president of cox communications, pat esser and of
president comcast communications, neil smit. [applause] >> he is a distributor and a content guide. sit down john eminem thank you for being here. let's get started. obviously, we have both sides represented. i was asking backstage how we will see them. i don't want the three content guys next to each other. maybe we could go alphabetically -- it is great to have all of you here. thank you for being here. number one, we will not be boring here. i am forcing them not to be. it will not help anybody in this audience if we sit here and give these politically correct answers. if we're going to delve deeply and make a difference, we really have to be honest about many of the answers.
they are looking at me like they are like i am lecturing them. we want to hear the non =-pr statements and ideas. we want to go deeply into all of this. [laughter] set down. we will start with the fact that every time i go to the shows, something is trending almost immediately. one thing that seemed to be trending is the new amounts of choice. it is unbelievable how much choice. it was cabled i used to be the place of choice. 100 channels, everybody is cool with cable, that is awesome but suddenly there are hundreds of thousands of choices, not all than have to do with cable whether it is a youtube or amazon or what googled and apple-tv are doing. how did you guys let that happen where got out of the hands of cable and what will you do to get it back?
i will start with you, neil. you really deal with this, distributor part of it. how'd you get people back to saying that cable is the place to beat and not my computer? >> i think it is all about personalized experience, about my favorites, my watch list, and recommendations that work for me. i think it is less about the tv or the internet or even what experience works for me. it is personalize that could stay with me across different platforms. it is a common user interface. wherever you go, that is the interface you get an is personalized to me or you. i think that is the trend we are seeing and we're working hard. >> you know that what starts as me and my 9-year-old kid turns into the rest of the nation. we saw that with the music
industry and master. they ignored it and they lost complete control of their industry. cable does not want to be the next music industry. how you prevent that from happening? >> let me go back to your opening comments. you don't want to be dull. we are pretty dull guys in here in dark suits. >> that is why i wore green. >> yes, i think the key for all loss is to keep changing with the technology and we have to offer consumers the features they want. i don't think it is magic. i think we all have technical people understand it. i think we understand consumers. if you think about it, what this industry has done collectively as match the understanding of consumers with an understanding of technology. there's a lot going on and none of us know exactly where it is
going but i think there is more opportunity for us than anything else. >> does that keep you up at night? >> i am not sure that you characterized it correctly that got away from us. we started this. you give consumers a choice anacreon's business opportunities. how you keep up with it? at the end of the day, you have to keep going back to the customer and ask them what they value of what they don't value. you have to keep talking to the people who create those wonderful content and share their learning back and forth to create new types of business models that exists or don't exist today and continue to harvest those in the marketplace and the consumers will reward you for doing that. in some cases, you cannot control everything. he will only control 60% of and that is the reality of the business. >>philippe, do you agree with
that? >> we have a lot of choices. television is the foundation for a lot of the viewing that takes place and a lot of the conversation out there. today we have the cable programming industry in the aggregate continuing to gain shares against broadcasts. tv viewing as a as an all-time high. our viewers get to enjoy the content in many different ways and get to interact with it. many of our shows have features that include social networking activity. on tosh.o we have tweets during the show and it creates more energy and passion around the programming.
a lot of activity is carried. there are two parts of our industry, programming and distribution. and they have grown together. for the content owners, there has never been a better time. we have the ability to reach consumers in many different ways and get the more engaged and more passionate about the brand we have and about the characters we have on our shows. it is a great opportunity. >> i would think you want that everywhere but you are in litigation with the guy sitting on the other side, glenn britt. what is that about? you want to be able to get our approval to put that stuff on to the other opportunities that are out there like tablets which is a huge issue facing the cable group. are you going to fight it or embrace it? >> you have to embrace it.
what we have to do is to excite the consumer and deliver an experience that is right for them. we have to make it easy to use. what has made apple so successful is it is a great intuitive experience. we have to do a better job of bringing these new things forward to excite consumers. you talk about authentication and we're still talking about it. somehow, we have to recognize others are doing things and we get too hung up. we have to deliver content experiences that go along with the distribution. our rights are our backbone. we create great content and we got to work with distributors to deliver that content in new and interesting ways. we have to work agreements on how we do it and make sure the rights we have of the content and how they are exploited is
according to agreements we have in place. you have to have a structure to which do business. within that, we have to do a better job of bringing new and exciting things forward to the marketplace. >> and then there's jack with time warner. you're the ones who of is the jumping forward and said a tv everywhere. that is and are easy term to throw out what are you doing with that? >> let's all cheer up. [laughter] this is not the music industry. this is the cable industry. this is the cable [applause] ] convention. i was watching the debate last night, it is morning in the cable industry. it is time to keep this fantastic industry moving. we have always coming in this industry, invented the most cutting edge, most desired and
watched things. this is what we have all built together all the last 30 years. all of this infrastructure, the reason you can get things on tablets and smart phones is because of the infrastructure that was frankly led by the people in this room and is now being copied and augmented by telephone and satellite companies. it is a fantastic infrastructure. it got built like the railroads. it is the most successful, vibrant, high-quality content industry in the world and it is being copied in every country in the world. it is really healthy. the quality is much better. if you think of the content that people want to watch on internet delivery, the best content is the stuff that premieres on
cable systems on television screens. the quality is up. the diversity of content is up. the programming budgets are up. the profits are up. the whole thing is going great. what we need to do is put it on demand, make it a very good interface because that is what the internet industry is brimming. frankly, it is good they are. we need to bring on the tools to place great content that we got and make it more available to the viewers that love it. we should be really happy and excited about where we are right now. [applause] >> people want to get paid before the content and this is an issue that if you do the quality content, they want it to look good. you can say the television screen but it is not necessarily the tv screen that people are looking at any more. they are looking at a tablet. that is a whole different screen
inside the home. you guys are the ones with the band with. that is the beauty of it with the cable industry. how'd you make sure you don't get a whole different generation? i am not of that generation but this is very positive. neil, you thought 9-year-old kid telling their kids -- i had a guy telling me that he bought a second house and his son told not to get cable. he said you don't need it. the kid said i will show you how it works. does that scare you? >> we should be meeting the consumer demands. if consumers want to consume things in the house, great. outside the house? 5, on a tablet, on a pc, on a television screen, we should meet those needs. we reached 5 million hits last
week so we are seeing more consumption. there is great premium concept like hbo which is being consumed on the internet. in terms of people wanting to get paid, there are different currencies. we recently launched a catch up, keep up and it shows that four episodes -- when we talked the different at worst, they want to get ratings on the vod platform so i work with nelson to do that. we work -- we reached a basic compromise that was to give me some ratings on a vod and i will give you more content. it was a real win for both parties. the more we work with in the ecosystem, the better. the pace is moving faster but i think the conversations between the program and a disk -- the programmers and distributors need to happen on a more frequent basis because of the pace of change. >> you guys are busy
renegotiate contracts, sulindac gets contentious. how you have that conversation? >> i don't think the conversation is that complicated. if the consumer is -- the consumer is willing to pay a fair value for a good experience. we have to continue to make that experience happened. that is first and foremost what it is about the consumer is willing to pay for something of quality of something that excites them and as interesting. to do that, we have to take advantage of the medium's to make a richer and better experience that people want to have. people recognize and will value the importance of that content. >> one of the first job in cable was to shimmy up a telephone pole.
you have been in this a long time and you know all about this. as a look at where this is going, you have to be saying that you have to figure out a way to embrace it and get the programmers alongside. there is some as diplomacy now, isn't there? >> i think the consumer is sending us a loud and clear message that the things we are bringing to the market of what they like and a value. we introduced three products the last 90 days three we had to be on line, 100,000 people authenticated that product in the first 30 days. we tend not to talk about video- on-demand. it is highly successful, 31 million sessions last month. the number will probably get to 300 million sessions. we harbor doing something right we're looking at global contract and that lost last month -- and we launched that last month.
i don't disagree that the marketplace is fragmented but they value the services and products will bring to the market. they may assemble them differently than they are today but we have a very vital role in figuring that out. i think it is an important role. i have a lot of optimism about the future. we have to figure it out together. >> glenn, what do you think? >> i think we are very influenced by the press and wall street and the latest company. the scale of this industry and the scale of what we do up here and a number of hours per day that people watch video on our platform and the number of hours people watch broadband, it is unbelievable.
we are clearly doing something right it does not mean we can fall asleep. we have to embrace new technologies to deliver things in new ways agree we need to embrace all of the screens. there is no such thing as a tv anymore. it is a video display device. we should not sell ourselves short break we are doing things really well right now. >> philippe, i want to bring this up for the programmers. google-tv and apple-tv, we want to see what that is. you have netflix. this is using up a massive amount of and with every night, each one has a different percentage of how much their band with is being sucked up by netflix. just as interesting, netflix is announcing they are going into original programming. if i am you, i am thinking what they will do and is that a threat to me?
how do i make sure i am getting really cool content that will hit the cerebellum of the people looking for interesting things to watch? >> netflix is primarily a service that provides library programming. that is what we have an netflix. we have complete seasons of some of our shows there that gets people interested in watching the current programming. our industry has always been about windowing content. we are very selective about our distribution relationships. we got involved in one show that was a pay television project. but that was not their fundamental business. it is not easy to get into the content business. the number of major studios around today, they are the exact same city is that existed 75
years ago. it is not that easy. we are comfortable. we are 100% focus on content in our company. we have continued to increase the states. we think we have invested in programming year after year through the recession in order to serve the consumer which is what it is all about. we work with distributors here and elsewhere to provide great experiences. we work with the cable industry. we work with the satellite industries of the world and we satisfy the consumers wherever they want to see our content including, in our case, original content. we have syndication value in the we-year beavisd * butthead have and there is a demand for that. we're making incremental money which allows us to invest in more original money -- original programming which airs on the
distributor's sitting here. they get the first crack at our shows. we spend all the money to make these things >> >> the guy at show time has come up with platinum quality programming. they sell their shows on netflix as soon as netflix announced they're going -- they pulled their shows off netflix as soon as netflix announced they were doing original shows. what do you think about that? >> i hesitate to say that much. the way we think about it is it is subscription video on demand which is the category that i think we are talking about. what is the value of that for consumers? we all know there are several subscription videos on demand networks. one of them's pretty famous called hbo. it is subscription.
it is on demand. it has been on television with multiplex for 10 years vod for 10 years and now is on all your internet devices. for nothing if you are a subscriber. that is the biggest and most prolific in terms of programming rights, original programming, movie is, etc. there are several others that are pretty well established. there is showtime epix, netflix, may be amazon and maybe some others and there can be a rule for subscription vod structures. in the case of netflix, they are streaming product entered that only but not yet to achieve a -- they are streaming products on the internet only but not yet on tv.
much of this training is older programming. much of the streaming his older programming. it is hard to see how they could afford a substantial budget of current programming or current original programming. to the extent they can do it, i think it is fine. it adds to competition. >> from the hbo point of view, we have been making a lot of original programming for years, competing with abc and nbc and cbs originally and now with basic cable networks, they are all doing great programming. adding more programs whether it is on demand which is an artificial distinction versus
the basic cable business, we are all sitting here at this convention on the cusp of taking every channel on television with all the great programming and put all of it on demand and have all of it so you confine your favorite show a fx or showtime. all of these networks will accessed along with netflix and apple and amazon desk tv on every device. what we need to do together is to get all those networks on every device and get an interface that the subscribers really like beckham the personalized. that is the job we have to do now. >> philippe? >> there has been a long tradition in this industry of the content side and working with the distribution side developing new technology and get home vod which has become
big and start over products, etc. i think it is important for the future success of our combined industry to continue to collaborate. it is important that we continue to work together to serve the consumer. both sides of the equation must immerge happy with the collaboration and benefit all of us. we are all sitting up here because we have been successful working together. it is important that we continue to do that because we need to remember that we agree on this panel that we need to serve the consumers and provide them with what they want. we have to do it at the right time, in the right ways, when we have met the business objectives that allow us to create the content that people enjoy.
we aread support of on our network, we need to have a measurement system in place. this is so that the viewing on the device -- the mobile devices get measures to weaken ads because that is the currency. >> neilsen is not measuring. >> we need to make sure they do. that is what the obstacles to getting to tv everywhere for ad-supported services. it is a different story for some network because they are not ad-supported. we were the first pay service that went everywhere. with epix, it was conceived that way. when need to have the technological obstacles overcome amortization obstacles overcome. once we do that, we will enter a
whole new era to satisfy consumers. >> cord-cutting is what cable were talking about, limiting their cable service. what kind of evidence to you see of it or is it just a few people that was part of the housing slowdown? >> we're not seeing any evidence of that right now. there has been 5000 sub's last quarter. we are seeing a healthy industry. i think our perspective on is, let's never see -- i think the extension is if they want to watch the ipad or television screen or mobile, let's let them view it the way they want to view it.
but clearly, if there is something of the makes consumers not want to buy the big package that we collectively are selling, that is why we have to work together on the functionality. >> i'm assuming that you probably agree, but this reminds me of 2007 when the subprime was starting to look a little scary and somebody said one and a half of all subprime are failing and another person said, that as a means that 98% of all people are still paying their mortgages. in a couple of years, a lot more mortgages on wild.
looking through a telescope, what do you see? >> when i look back, we used to gain to and for 50,000 new households per year. last year we gained -- we used 250,000 households per year. i think vice your we gained 70,000. -- last year we gained 70,000. >> feddis it reflection of what? >> i think it is a reflection of the economy. while costs have increased, there are segment of the population that have declined.
we have to make sure that the value stays the same. >> i think it is remarkable. we have gone through the worst recession of the people on this panel have seen in their lifetime. it is remarkable, but the last thing that people cut back on is their television subscription. people are spending a lot of hours in front of the television set. it is true remarkable how well of all the categories data has held up. there were a couple of quarters were there was a miner declined
-- minor decline. if you look at the source of that, it is generally ken the economy. -- it is generally the economy. >> if i can jump in there, i think there is truth in all of this. there were more vacant houses during the recession in this country than ever before and our products are for the mentally sold through household, not individuals. -- are fundamentally sold through household, and on individuals. halthat seems to be moderating f it, and that is a good thing.
having said that, and we have seen this around the country, there is a growing class of people like cannot afford it. they want it. i think it would behoove all of us to gather smaller packages. most of the people want everything. but some to want the smaller package. i think it would serve us well to worry about the group. -- of that group. [applause] >> groendyke to the ipad and the issue that people want to move orland, just before this session i talked to george and he said, 2 million people watched the
and i think we need to be about how we create get richer experience. >> how many people in the audience watched things on their ipad or their talents? just raise your hands. i'm getting this for my kids because they want to watch it when they want to watch it and where they want to watch it. what needs to happen next to keep people watching? and i'm sure the samsung and sony and panasonic people are pretty interested, too. >> about 50% of the users are actually using tools, so remote
tune in their tv are, for example. -- remote tuning their dvr, ford simple. i think the ipad, we found, is a tool.e tun9ining we need to work together and the pace of the change is only changing. the programming conversations are gradeat conversations. the final strokes were about the flexibility of the platform.
i think of is the way it is evolving. >> you said, but do not be politically correct. you mentioned to the 9-year-old -- you mentioned to the 9-year- old saying -- i would just say, do not be afraid of your kids. >> are you sure about that? >> i like to watch. >> what are you watching? what is going to be the next opportunity with the screen on your tv? more and more people are watching tv. having hd as an issue. how you make that better on
television? >> put the tv on all of the internet devices and do not change the business model and do not charge people to do it and may keep an the way they are accustomed to aid, which is eager their favorite channel or through some interface. secondly, we all have to remember this. is this infrastructure -- it is infrastructure that allows people to know what is going on in hollywood. getting the increases in picture and sound and giving those to
electronics -- i'm not saying 3d is the only thing, but it is an example. in a theater, i can be very powerful. it can be very powerful to get into the story. when we get that, your infrastructure will be the number one place that will be able to deliver sound and quality in the kind of venue that consumers will be able to have. the internet delivery of video is going to have to be organized
it is important to measure high- quality video would've really consumer friendly, on demand access and the highest quality of transmission. that is going to be the advantage of this industry. we need to work on that evanish. >> -- we need to work on that advantage. >> consumers are watching television on the internet. we do a lot of research. we have a twitter wall in the
background of one of our shows. people are reading it during the show. we have 2.5 million facebook fans of this one show. we have an app that we launched two months ago where somebody will call live on the show. if you need to have that experience for people are chatting live about the show and you need to have more and more programming. they do not want to watch the same repeat of the same show.
>> the fcc and the department of justice approved a massive merger and that was comcast and nbc. do you think there will be such mergers in the future were you have operators and programs -- where you have operators and programs like this? buehrer you think that there might be more mergers -- and do you think that there might be more mergers such as that? >> obviously, there's more consolidation chorion within the industry. an example is -- consolidation going on within the industry.
an example is comcast and nbc. people are looking for an efficient way to leverage assets across the platform. i want to stay with us something you started that i think is a really good point. consumers want to get their communication across their platform of choice. if the content is really good, then they will try to get the best they can, whether it is a 2 inch screen or a 50-inch screen. there has to be a lot of infrastructure built into the country and it takes billions and billions of dollars to do that. we have to agree on business models that we all support. these things enable the capability in between. we have to figure the business
models out. >> and can we? , you're the guy that gave to the court on the cablevision. you got it back on -- a that yanked the cord on cablevision. .ou got back on in the end, b >> i think it is important for us to recognize that this is a consumer marketplace and not to let the marketplace gets bogged
down. we had to change the path of the broadcast business was on. and you probably have more friction in that relationship than normal. we have had difficult negotiations around the value of content for 20 years, 30 years. the industry has continued to go further and grow. we need to get to a place of, what is fair value.
certainly, it is our role -- our goal, to construct the. >> it has been very interesting that we can pick up the phone to each other in every day. -- to each other every day. we put together flexible programs. we have content that would promote our dod and the ratings aren't in these other markets. -- the ratings are up in these other markets. the experimentation has been very positive. i do not think that a merger house to have been necessarily, but that this the evolving -- a
merger has to happen or necessarily, but that is the evolving way of the world. >> how to avoid getting caught and saying, we did not see it coming? do this together and do peace and happiness and not get into the vacation -- into litigation, and you know what i'm saying? >> i think that the best way to not get caught by surprise is to keep looking around. that sounds pretty simple, but we all need to know what is going on in technology and what consumers want. if we keep our eyes open, we'll be fine.
there is a tendency to focus on way too much on technology. we have more technology than anyone knows what to do with. it is about the consumer. they are changing. and it is about our ability to do it together. sometimes, our relationships get in the way and everyone's to know -- everyone wants to the way of the experiment. the courts we have got to grab the attention of the youth today. -- >> we have thought to crowd the attention of the use today. the right now with this summer. there are thousands and thousands of college graduates. what would you advise people looking for jobs in the television industry, cable, whatever, broadband?
with a 9.2% unemployment rate, and we do not know when it is going to change, what are you looking for? what you need the most? >> i would say engineers are a very desired skill sets. and software development. i have a son who just graduated reason engineer. >> are you going to hire him? >> morneau, that is a whole nother story. -- no, that as a whole nother story. >> i will go a bit different and say that i probably spend more time in my company talking about giving people disruption to -- giving people permission to disrupt the model. there is a desire for people to conform and get back in line with the businesses that exists. anytime you live outside that,
you get pounded beckoned. giving leadership the ability to develop small teams and pursue different things is important. we have insurance that come in and say -- we have interns that come in and we say, would you do? we have got to get better at that. >> we need more people that understand new technology so they can make programming for broadband creative experiences. >> are you looking for people who work on shows? are you looking for amateurs? >> we have several on-air shows where we discovered the talent on the internet.
there's a lot of stuff out there. you have to filter, but we need more and more creative people. >> new talk about netflix and youtube and google and facebook. you need content. you need choice out there. if all you have is mediocre content or content that is indistinguishable, it is not going to get you anything. it has to stand guard. -- stand out. content has become an experience, with the interactive and other things. it is the ability to create the content and excite people with
that content. >> engineers are in short supply, but i think the a skill that is in even shorter supply is people that can explain the technology in civil ways that the rest of us can understand and relate it to consumers -- simple ways that the rest of us can understand and relate it to consumers, that is needed. >> we have to have great content. and we have to have great depression. -- and distribution. technology is really important,
but we should not overemphasize it. let's take a moment and look at the success of apple. apple certainly has brilliant technology. and what apple did all the way ac is to focus on the ninth -- designed and the human experience. the made devices, which standard thinking was, you cannot really do stand have devices -- stand of devices, but they did. i would say we learn from the that, that we have the best
technology in the room. we learn from our viewers that they're watching their favorite shows on tv. but that is not enough. they need to have the same control and the engagement and feeling that they have with the internet devices. our content, we are giving it to them on television. interface is really the key. sitting in this room who have different companies with different geographic territories. we have to figure of how to get the best interfaces adopted in the best.com lawyers away for the benefit of the consumers across this country. it will enable us economically. it will enable the citizens to
know how to use it and you'll get the benefits of scale. i think a major focus on uber -- user interface, ease of use, fairness to consumers and the point of some big part of the country during the protracted economic condition. we ought to think>> before we wo ask each one of you, what channel that is not owned by your company, do you watched the most? [laughter] >> start with jeff. >> pbs. [laughter]
>> i thought you are not being politically correct. >> you do not on any channel. >> what channels d like to watch the most? >> i like nbc. >> i am a sports junkie, espn. >> fox business news, of course. >> thank you. >> i'll give a shout out to the history channel. >> pilots a c-span. -- i would say c-span. >> what a terrific panel we have had -- the real luminaries of this industry. [applause] >> really figuring out a way to be all things to all people, moving forward. thank you so much.
in july the rest of the cable show. -- enjoy the rest of the cable show. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] crux of our coverage of the national cable telecommunications association continues tomorrow with sec chairman julius genachowski interviewed by former sec chairman michael paul. at 6:30, a look at the presidential election with david axelrod and ed gillespie. coming up live at 12:30 eastern, our coverage of the republican leadership on the conference, was speakers including buddy roemer, texas governor rick perry, and rnc chairman reince priebus. that is all day, live, starting a tall clock 30 eastern here, on c-span. >> c-span has lost a new easy-to
navigate website. has twitter feeds and facebook updates from candidates and political reporters, and links to be partners in the early primary caucus stage. >> blackberry users, you can access our programming any time with the c-span radial application -- radio application. you can also listen to our signature and a deprograms each week, and it is available around the clock, were everywhere. download it free. >> next, a look at a bus safety and possible legislative responses. when mrs. include safety advocates, -- witnesses and
could save the applicants, and the administration of the federal motor carrier safety and administration. this is almost till all hours. -- this is almost two hours. >> today's here in is entitled how to best improve bus safety on our nation's highways. the order of business will be opening statements by members, and then we have a panel of witnesses assembled that will testify about the subject at hand. the order of business to proceed is i will begin with my opening statement, yield to other members, and then we will try to
expedite hearing from our witnesses. we will hear from all of them, and take questions afterwards. pleased to be with you this ethanim. all began by trying to lay some groundwork with my opening statement. i welcome our when mrs. and members today. thank you for coming back, too. i know the house is not in session until -- well, it is in session, but not voting until later tonight. the reason for this hearing is actually i think very important. we will, in a few weeks, rollout legislation that dramatically reestablished as, sets -- reestablished is, and sets new policy for various modes of transportation. as some of the main now, we plan to roll out the new transportation legislation in two phases, and starting on
wednesday we will have a rollout of a draft of a passenger rail reform bill. we are going to introduce a separate piece of legislation dealing with that particular provision. we do have some provisions that are relevant -- rather dramatic and a change in the way things are currently conducted with our current provider, amtrak. we want full opportunity for a new direction for passenger rail to be fully aired, and also included in a separate bill. we will see if we have adequate support in the house and senate to move forward as part of a larger measure. the balance of the multi-modal bill will be rolled out a few weeks afterward, and we are
doing in a little bit of a different fashion. aifferent fashion. we started hearing testimony from around united states and started in mr. rayhall's district in beckley, west virginia. we went as far as the pacific ocean, probably, two or three dozen carries to try to craft and assemble the best ideas for any reforms necessary or that people could provide the committee with. we ended up in this roo we had a little libation and pizza where members discussed some of the basic parameters for the legislation. during the past few weeks, our staff have been working on incorporating provisions for
both the passenger rail segment and also for the balance of the in a legislative illegal. we can hope to have that rolled out, but as they complete that work, we wanted to make shoes -- make certain that we have the best provisions possible for us safety. mr. defazio, i hope to thank him, and i thank you for bringing this hearing together. mr. defazio had done hearings previously on passenger bus safety, and i think it is vitally important that we have the latest, most up-to-date input from some of those involved with this matter before us as we conclude and finalize the drafting and provisions for
our larger bill. this has been highlighted unfortunately by some very tragic, dramatic accidents that have taken place with some of our buses, passenger buses. we had that horrible accident march, 2011, on the new jersey turnpike. we had another horrendous accident in new york with 15 fatalities, injuries in the incidents. we have unfortunately had in north carolina another horrible accident in the greensboro, north carolina, area, where four passengers were killed and 53 others were injured. the purpose of the hearing is to look at our current laws,
regulations, and the administration, those provisions we currently have in statutes or rules and make certain we have the very best measures in the bill the we are drafting. we have taken ideas from both sides of the aisle in our preliminary work, and hopefully we will have some additional input today, because again, one fatality is far too many. let me say that as i conclude that the industry overall does have a very excellent safety record. bus operations, transport between 750,000,800 million passengers -- 750,000,800 million passengers per year. we have had very few fatalities.
we have great safety records, particularly among the well- known and legacy passenger companies. unfortunately, that is not the case with many of thether operators, and we do not have an exact number. i asked for the number of operators, but that troubles me that we did not have that data. how can we monitor if we do not have the exact the death? the federal motor carrier safety administration will hear from representatives of that agency's, responsible for some of the federal enforcement and administration of loss, and our states are vital players and need to make certain that they also have inlace the very best safety provisions so that any
and all accidents can be prevented. it may be impossible, but it should be our goal. unfortunately, we are brought here by a series of bus tragedy's that have -- -- that havees captured the attention of the nation. i notice that even over the weekend i am told that federal motor carrie safety administration has closed down a couple of operators, marginal at best, operators. i am glad to hear that, when -- and i undstand they were actually transporting people under the bus. i do not know if that was in the luggage area or what takoma --
what, but that is not an acceptable mode of operation. we will provide inlet all, again working with our state partners, whatever measures are necessary to make sure that people are transported on buses safely throughout the united states. that is our reason for this hearing. we appreciate our witnesses and hopefully we will come out of this hearing a little bit more knowledgeable, were prepared to finalize the import legislation we are about the craft and submit. i will say as we go forward with this process, in closing, whether the passenger rail segment or the bill, not only that do i want the democrat minority members that have full opportunity for purses of asian, but also her members -- opportunity for participation,
but other members and other industry people who are affected by the law and any organizations that again support safety and good transportation for the and i did sit of america. we will have a full opportunity to participate on wednesday. we will be wet casting at 11:00 and people can go to our website at participate in the rollout of the first section of the bill, and in several weeks, the same procedure will be followed. we will have a number you can call. we will have the ability -- you will have the ability also asked questions as we roll out these new provisions in law. we want full participation, and please, members, are able to be with us. with that, i would like to deal to the ranking member of the
committee -- subcommittee, mr. defazio, and this is a full committee hearing. i thought it was important to bring it to a full committee level, and i am so pleased that he would come back. and continue his hard work to make certain that bus passenger safety is a priority. >> thank you for bringing this important issue forward. it is timely before we move forwardith authorization because some new authority is needed and perhaps some mandates, but when we deregulated interstate commerce we h absurds, regulations where they had to define -- had to file their
rates for different seats or whatever and difference get chills. the intention of the regulation was to bring about competition, but not to kill people. that is where a total deregulatory environment fails us. i am pleased see they have stepped up the number of inspections and enforcement, but given what we are told, the level of new entrants, it seems an impossible task, and ever- changing groupf characters carry only a small percentage are those who would put people inhe baggage compartment, had incompetent or exhausted drivers, drive buses with bald tires, failed breaks, causing fires and other problems. it is a very small problem in the industry, but those who are
industry -- those who are legitimate should draw together to to figure how to keep these people out. when they kill peoe, people just disassociate with the entire industry. it is a few bad actors. th is what i hope comes out of this hearing, that we figure out a way to keep these people out if they are and, to get them out, and to vigorously prosecute them when they have committed violations the law. i think a number of our state partners have failed uin this. some states just allow these gypsies, these fly by night folks to present a certificate saying they have inspected their own bosses and their bosses are ok, and the state says their bosses are ok. other states are more rigorous.
we may need to set a higher bar in authorization for t state's before we can have a carrot-stick approach, too. many states have diverted their money into truck inspection safety. that is a problem, too. maybe we need to look at the levels of funding, and the proposed levels of funding under the ryan budget would be a dramatic reduction in funding for the federal government and federal pass-throughs to the states. then there is this whole thing of morphing, which the agency tries to deal with, but more authorityeeds to be there, with people are morphing in this case. in virginia, they morphed
quickly into another company. we need to figure a way to get at that so they cannot continue to operate under any guise, the people who are responsible for the substandard operations for killing people. that is the ball line here. this of the be all heaven,, and i would welcome industry representatives as well as the regular fares to give us a vision as to how we can get there. we are not going to regulate every route. no one is proposing that. how in a regulated environment we get the level of safety security want and a legitimate operators. i welcome the testimony from the panel. >> thank you for your excellent comments and for your strong advocacy on behalf -- on behalf
of bus safety. the gentleman from north carolina. >> i will be very brief. i know of no issue that is more significantly important that promoting safety on our nation's i ways. that is the purpose of this hearing. thank you all for being he. i think he and the ranking member for having schedule this, and i yield back. >> good to see back, and you are looking pretty good, fighting a little bit of that skin cancer. >> i have not yet reached the threshold of hollywood hinson, but i am working on it. handsome, but ind am worki on it. >> in this committee, city is a top priority.
we have to strive to make it secure because this is critical. i want to say to those folks who have lost loved ones, families of those who have been a injured, you have our deepest sympathy, but it is important to note that the inner city motorcoach industry is an extremely safe mode of transportation. the nation has aut 35,000 motor coaches that provide 750 million passenger trips annually. it is the safest way for passengers to move around this country. they have had a record that has been saved. we have had fatalities recently, and we got to make sure as the ranking member said to get this bad actors off the road.
there is room for us improve. the recent accidents have highlighted the issues regarding enforcement. we need to make sure the best trainedrivers are out there transporting our citizens safely around the country. i ainterested in hearing from our witnesses regarding how we can keep unsafe as operators of the nation's highways. a bus crash near frederick virginia killed 53 others. an operator has had seen the numerous -- numerous safety violations. they had that accident, but today are operating under a
fferent name. we have got to figure out a way to keep those rogue operators who consistently violate safe standards make sure they're off the highway the whole . we must evaluate the effects of the standards as we go for it. i want to make sure that the u.s. dot as the appropriate authorities to ensure safety and look forward to the testimony today. i wa to point out that the industry is largely a small business industry. 95% of motorcoach companies operate fewer than 25 motor coaches. we must ensure we take a balanced approach to this.
we want to make sure there is the highest level of safety. this is a small business, family-owned industry that we cannot take a broad brush and paint them all, because they are committed to making sure they are transporting psengers in a safe manner. we have to focus on that and make sure we do it in a way that is not going to hurt them in this already weak economy. i want to mention the legislation that i have proposed, the bus uniform standards and safety act, which focuses on increasing oversight and enforcement, ensuring the most well trained drivers, and improving standas based on sound scientific research, testing and analysis, not on the motion. we goto make sure we make sure
this makes sense scientifically. i look forward to hearing testimony today for your ideas and i appreciate the chairman holding this hearing today. thank you. >> i am pleased to yield to the gentleman from indiana. >> they give, and thank you for holding this very important hearing today, and i think the ranking member. i took advantage of the motorcoach system when i was in college. and i know how important it is to the people in indiana since i am in a fairly rural state, and people take advantage of the motorcoach system. it is also important to continue to look at the safety, realizing we have bad actors out there that compromise the system which for the most part is an
extremely safe way for people to travel, even in light of the recent tragic crashes that resulted in loss of life. thank you for holding this hearing. i am looking forward to hearing the testimony so we can continue to make this mode of travel very safe for our >> thank the gentleman. mr. harris, recognized. >> my colleague from north carolina. my district will depend upon bus transportation. we do want to keep it safe. i wouldust ask that we do not do wha has been trendy in the past which is when something like this happens become up with a n series of regulations that
punish the good actors almost more than the bad actors. a lot of the bus companies are in fact small bus companies. they are the small businesses that can thrive. two of my daughters to interstate bus trips over the past month. the air-conditioning ran out on one. it is not a safety issue -- certainly it is not comfortable. but they both felt saved taking that mode of transportation. they trusted the carriers. creating a said of regulations that paint -- a set o regulationf is that have an of safety d overall. >> we will proceed with our panel of witnesses. again, i thank them for coming in on short notice.
i feel this will be a very important hearing, as we try to craft and falize provions before the new six-year authorization. ouwitnesses start out with ann ferro. major david palmer, texas department of public safety. thank you for being with us. mr. peter pantuso. president and ceo of american bus association. mr. vicotr perra, president and ceo of united motor coach association. queline gillan.eln thank of the witnesses for bei with us. we were the like to try to limit
your testimony to five minutes. could submit a request through the chair. additional information, documentation, or infmatn that you would like to be made part of the record, we will do th. >> chairman, thank you the opportunity to speak today. this year has been the worst period in recent history for motor coach safety.
my condolences gones in these u ashes. the risk to passengers continues from a few bad actors. fmca's safety mission is our number one priority and we are fully engaged in a crackdown, illegqa passlanof centre carriers. -- illegal passenger carriers. when we found out the sky express was attempting to operate and sell tickets after we have shut them down, we issued a cease and desist order. on the same day, we subpoenaed the record of 3 internet web sites that sell tickets for sky express and other bus companies.
the leasing practices of some motorcars companies allows them to skirt safety rules, moving equipment and drivers ang companies. and unregulated websites sell tickets with no transparency to the public. we are shutting down on save carriers as quickly as are authority permits. since january, we declared 18 bus company's unsatisfaory. issued an out a service order for those 18. we have another 15 pending. that means they must stop operating. if a carrier opresent a severe risk, we do not wait for the 45- day appeal period that is allowed for motor coach carriers. shut them down immediately. this past week, we used are imminent hazard authority to shut down three companies, including one in michigan that had put passengers and cargo
hold. we have got to stop that. transportation secretary ray lahood has had his eye and motor coach fety since 2009 when he charged fmcsa and ntsa to develop a plan. the actions within its plan to address many ntsb regulations, including on board reg ting, anda ban on texsti stronger oversight of drivers medical and alcohol test result fmcsa has proposed rules or programsn all of those areas. we need additional authority. we provided technical assistance to the committee with regard to several recommendations that would strengthen our authority over these bad actors. first is to allow us to conduct
en route inspections at the state level. not just restrict us to inspections on motor coach companies at origin and destination. second is to develop a successor liility standard to enable us up to more surely shut down reincarnated carriers. third is a requirement for safety audits. the fourth is to raise the penalty for violations by bus companies that attempt to opate illegally to $25,000 per violation. it is currently $2,000. lastly, allow us to regulate passenger ticket sellers. we refer to them as brokers. we currently regulate household could brokers. we have no authorities over passenger bus brokers. our commitment has never been
higher. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you 3 testimony. we will hear from major david palmer -- thank you for your testimony. he is with the texas deparent of public safety and testifying on behalf of commercial safety vehicle alight. welcome and you are recognized. >> members o the committee, thank you for holding this hearing. let me say at the outset that on behalf of my members we pledged renewed emphasis on bus safety, a step we can take it no additional cost is to lift the current restriction law that prohibits en route bus inspections. we commit to you that if this restrictio is lifted, we will encourage our state companies to take an aggressive enforcement
actions when warranted. is step will provide an infusion of enforcement activity and enhance boston highway -- bus and highway safety. this has resulted in a significant number of buses and drivers being placed out of service for mechanical or driver violations. these strike forces included safety inspections at origin or destination. we are believers that many more lives could be sav if en route inspections for once again permitted to allow states to conduct these inspections when and where necessary. since the so-called kerbside operators such as sky express do not operate at a fixed place of business, the most effective way to inspect them is through random en routerograms. this this past week, they opped four buses operating on the capital beltway.
although they were not _ i express's -- under sky express's authority, two did not have driver's licenses and all four did not have log books. this is one of many examples like en route inspection is necessary. how many more are out there? enforcement is a major component of bus safety but not the only one. when it is necessary to close down the passenger carrier erating illegally, the full force and authority of fmcsa is necessary. state enforcement and oversight is necessary to the inspection and audit process is to uncover potential passenger carrier drivers and equipment problems. when it comes to crashworthiness, and it's a must aggressively -- ntsa must
implement safety system requirements. vetting process has been an important tool to take action on carriers that are changing their stripes. fmcsa working with the states must be given authority to transfer pass safety performance authority for one carrier to another one discovered it is the same operation. we must also be given more authority over brokers, companies that purchase transportation for customers need to be held accountable for not conducting a proper due diligence for safety. brokers discovered not doing so when hiring unsafe operators must use shut down. -- must be shut down. another is bus fires. a bus or market is lost to a fire every two days in the united states. we can conduct more roadside inspections were reinspect
brakes, tires, and wheels, which are the origi of many fires. we support provisions in the house and senate bus safety bills that require a safety audit compliance review of all interstate passenger carriers. each statements also have a bus safety enforcement program that is approiate for the needs of that state. as you might expect, by directing more of their efforts toward bus safety, states face he potential need for additional resources and funding. what we do not want to happen is by focusing on safety and spection, it comes at the expense of other programs. unlike trucking companies, intercity passenger carriers have been exempt from any hours of service changes in recent years. since driver fatigue seems to have an attention getting factor in bus cresses, we recommend -- bus crashes weecommend if studying the roles of for driver
hours are adequate. if coness chooses to once again to enable en route bus inspections, we will commit to assisting the state's by immediately conducting bus inspections as well and continues strike forces and other enforcement activities throughout the country. we believe this is the most appropriate and effective response to impact bus safety. mr. chairman, this concludes my remarks. i will be happy to answer any questions. >> next we will hear from peter pantuso. welcome and you are recognized. >> aba is the trade association for the bus industry and for the tour and travel industry, all of whom have a deep interest in safety. our motor coach members operate 60% of the coaches on the road today. we share this committee's concerns and frustrations over unsafe motor coach companies. mr. chairman, i cannot over
emphasize the concern or discussed that we have over the manner in which illegal companies continue to operate. these companies are not part of the american bus association. more important, we are encouraged by the work of administrator ferro that they have done to seek out and save companies. making bus travel safer is at the top of our agenda. it continues to be one of the safest notes even -- however, even one fatality is too many. we ask for more regulations and more enforcement. we were an early supporter of secretary lahood's motorcar safety action plan. we believe in strengthening state bus inspection programs, and forcing medical qualifications for drivers, and using technology to enhance safety. the lack of dedicated federal and state funding for bus inspections leads to is consistent enforcement, making it too easy for carrierso
reopen after they have been put out of business, too easy for financially marginal companies to obtain authority and too easy for individuals to obtain a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement. the lack of consistent and adequate enforcement of current federal regulations must be addressed today. when secretary lahood issued the action plan he declared, "a robust compliance and enforcement program is critical to ensuring that motor coach carriers operate safely." we applaud the stepped-up enforcement over the last couple months and a near-record number of motor cch companies being put out of company -- put out of business, putting on qualified drivers of service and declaring some of hazard. certainly, they have done an excellent job of better vatting new entnts into the system. we welcome the new york department of -- the police unsrtment's twoinowing of
afe buses. it's consisted, and effective best.orcement that is 54% of fatalities from 1999-2009 were accident caused by unsafe or illegal companies. fmcsa needs additional staffing and money to inspect bus operations. funding for commercial motor vehicle inspections is largely via the mixat program. a certain percentage of the funds should be allocated for bus inspections. if states are unwilling or incapable of managing bus inspection programs that meet federal standards, we believe that some of that money should be used to hire third-party inspectors. as it stands now, eight or 10 states have very good, effective inspection programs. this and equity must end.
bus inspection programs must be uniform so as not to create safe havens for illegal operators. we must raise the safety bar. while fmcsa has made gains, we would certainly like to see a query into the fitness of an operator before the passenger boards the bus. we believe that congress should require an applicant's background check for drivers, especially tse with a paenger endorsement on their cdl. when fmcsa has determined an eminent safety danger, they need congressional authority to not only closed the operation but make sure the facilities are locked up and make sure the vehicles are impounded. aba recommends that they undertake more consumer awareness, as was begun on may 5 with the secretary's consumer checklist. we also believe a more friendly database, a safer system is appropriate for consumers.
finally, regarding seat belts in coaches, aba supports seat belts in new buses, following the testing that was done by the department of transportation that they undertook to determine what type of belt, the seat design and anchorage that would be appropriate. we are supporters of h.r. 1390. our industry continues to grow. we will provide the safest and most cost-effective and environmentally efficient mode of transportation, but we can only do it icurrent regulations are enforced equally and all carriers. i.t. why, mr. chairman. i will answer any questions you might have -- i thank you, mr. chairman. >> now we will hear from mr. victor perra, president d ceo of the motor coach association. welcome. you are recognized. >> i appreciate your calling the
hearing today and the opportunity to appear before it. the committee has a long and distinguished record of promoting safety. it is my goal to provide the committee with our perspective on t factors that contribute to our industries ble safety record but our goal of improving on that record. foded in 1971, thessociation represents the full spectrum of us and motor coach operations from small family charter and tour to nationwide commuter service operations. the united states small business administration estimates that over 90% of the motor coach operators are in fact small businesse we were deeply saddened by the recent accidents and we extend our deepest sympathies to the viims and their families. while it is a fact that our industry as the safest record -- one fatality is one fatality too
many. one of our objectives is to promote safety and compliance in this industry. we do this for several itiatives. first, we have our bus and motor coach academy which is a credit to the college of southern maryland. we do training for drivers as well as motor coach compani to instill safety cultures and their organizations. we a safety management seminars that we hold that the ntsb's training center. of course, our annual conference and regional state meetings are also laden with the safety training programs. we routinely volunteered to assist national transportation safety board in anof their investigations, as we did following the accident involving worldwide tourist. uma has long advocated for stronger enforcement of existing federal and state motor carrier safety regulations for our vehicles and drivers.
initially, we have long supported initiatives based on sound science and research that truly improve safety, many of which are included in mr. schuster's bill, which is co- sponsored by members of this committee. as well as other members of congss. the bill contains obtainable guidelines that enhance the national transportation safety administration's efforts to promulgate rules that will improve medical its occupant protection. in addition to the bill, in august, 2007, ntsa announced a series of the valuations including window glazings, emergency egress, stability control, roof strength and flammability. they conducted the first ever motor coach crash test. subsequent, ey promulgate regulations for seatelts on
all the coaches. uma supports that initiative. in december, 2010, fmcsa launched its long-awaited safety analysis. fmcsa now have the capability to readily identify noncompliant carriers with the goal of preventing accidents before they occur. just once and implementation, uma concludes that csa is producing results. we are satisfied this program will serve the long-rm needs of thenforcement community. uma has reservations regarding legislative efforts that could intentionally har small entrepreneurs and new carriers. while some of use the terms of the legal road carriers and new entrants in the same reference, there are no dect parallels that would signify new entrants fore a disproportional risk to the travelling public.
havi said that, we supports the secretary's efforts to establish minimal requirements for compans to seek to transport passengers. we recommend plaster an exam requirements falling by compliance audits within 45 days after operating authority is grant. while uma continues to support limited driver and vehicle inspections to locations that do not interfere with schedules, we do not support allowing drive or vehicles to continue operating safely. we remain concerned that roadside inspections. 76-year-old woman from minnesota died when her car that she was driving hit the back end of a motor coa that was stopped alongside i95 by a state trooper. fortunately, no passengers on the coach rick engine. congress has wisely protected
motor coach passengers. in conclusion, we appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony and stand ready to contribute to ongoing efforts to enhance safety of bus and motor coach operations. thank you. >> we will now hear from jackie gillan. she is vice president of the advocates for highway a auto safety. welcome and you are recognized. >> good afternoon. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i first testified in 2006 about motor coach safety problems. again in 2007, i testified after a crash in georgia. both hearings highlighted the need for congress to take action to improve federal oversight of the industry as well direct d. five years later, after those hearings, there have been more than 100 crashes resulting in
136 deaths and thousands of injuries. it's time for congress to act and passed the motor coach enhaement safety act sponsored representative john lewis and others. the legislation will directed d.o.t. to implement life-saving recommendations of the ntsb that have languished for over four years. does that trouble by motor coach rather than aired tonight expect to be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to safety, and they do not -- they do not expect the mor coach to be a death trap in the event of a crash. h.r. 873 is supported by consumer health and safety groups and the filies of thos killed and injured in motor coach crashes. why is this legislation needed? further excuses can no longer be tolerated and have contributed to needless deaths and injuries. this is not just advocates opinion, but the opinion of the ntsb as well. congress must act now and insure the safety improvements that
ntsb has recmended are implemented. hr 873 will protect consumers before they buy a ticket and after they take this seat in the trip begins. for example, there are no training requirements and federal regulations for entry- level commercial drivers, including motor coach drivers. compare that to a recent proposed faa role issued at the direction of cgress that requires at least 1500 hours of flight time before a pilot can operate a commercial flight. also, safety ratings for motor coach companies are incomplete, out of date, or simply not available. in my testimony, a reference efforts by advocates staff to find out about the safety of ford motor cars companies. there are 143 companies headquartered in florida. 36 have no safety ratings at all. five companies are operating with conditional ratings,
indicating there are safety deficiencies. among the 100 companies with satisfactory safety ratings, only to have ratings in categories. h.r. 873 would require that every motor coach company receives a safety rating within three years. driver fatigue and violation of federal hours of service rules are common. is time that we revise the hours of service role for motor coach drivers and get tough on companies that pushed drivers to exceed driving limits and falsify their logbooks. the virginia crash that occurred last week has also revealed a dirty little secret that safety advocates have warned about for years. giving motor cars companies an unsatisfactory safety rating 45 days or longer to continue carrng passengers is simply unacceptable. passengers boarding sky express had absolutely no idea dangerous
risks they faced choosing a carrier. in the 48 days during which sky express operated with an unsatisfactory rating, the company may have exposed as many as 100,000 passengers to dangerous and deadly operating conditions. the ntsb has been loudoun clear -- loud and clear, that motor coach operations -- passengers need better protection in a crash. motor coach crushers are violent and cause passengers to be thrown around and frequently ejected. this is why the national highway safety traffic administration needs to be directed to issue basic safety standards in the next two years that will result in our japan's having the safety protections that we now have -- will result in occupants having safety protections we have in cars. i am talking about seat belts, anti ejection window glazings and rollover protection. the motor coach industry gold-
plated cost figures secret waiting around for safety improvements required in h.r. 873 are inflated and undocumented. the cost of equipping new motor coaches with the safety improvements required in the motor coach enhance safety act will cost less than a dime per passenger. who in this hearing room today would not pay an extra dime to protect their child or parent or spouse in a crash? >> in closing, i urge you to pass the motor coach enhanced safety act and thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> we will see with the missing
pieces are to making certain that we have the very best legislation in place, best regulation where we are going to regulate, best cooperation from the states and the private industry. federalfrisirst from our motor carrier safety administrator a list of recommendations that have been suggested, and we heard other recommendations from other panelists. there are issues with just about all of these. for example, if we start with the end route inspections, and i think there were restrictions put under the last six-year authorization that to inhibit some of the en route inspections. i think thehought there was that we inspect the bus before people get on it or at the end. and not unless there was a
serious indication there was some problem en route. it would not shut down the service. we probably could tighten that uppe some. part of the problem starts even before that. mr. dazio spoke abo it. getting a hand on rogue operators. chnging the name of the operation over the internet. we have seen that in other industries, where bad players -- to try to build a mouse trap to catch the passenger bus orations or in other endeavors. i guess i would go back to the very basic involvemnt of the the
federal motor carrier safety administration in reviewing these folks and the time also that we have. what is it, 18 months they can actually start operations before they get some of that inspection? is that correct? correct.s it is 18 months for new entrants. for motor coach passengers we set a standard of inspection it within nine months of their first receiving that authority for motor coach operators. >> so your recommendation is that before the start service they should have that certification. someone else was talking about a review of their capability. if it could be done by -- you have 1080 employees with fte's.
i believe the division is about 800 in the field and maybe 200 in washington. >> that is correct. >> approximate. most of the inspections are done or eorcement is done at the state level. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> i know the administration recommended additional positions in washington. sometimes, though from a practical standpoint, it is better to empower the state folks who are closer as far as enforcement and regulation. what would you think of -- you are recommending more federal employees. any pre-review or audit that could be done you think that could enhance the performance? the other thing, too, is the bad actors. i've hrd of games and other
industries, they go through inspections. the good times come off and put them on another vehicle. the drivers the list are not the drivers that drives. keeping up with that. how do we get the best enforcement, other than just adding -- the second tough question for you, maybe i should ask other than just what the fed. other other things we can require on the spot that would do a good job, too.
>> in other words, multi-fold. additional inspection activity as advocates indicated creates additional data in our measurement system and identifies the behavior of carriers. rogue carriers are not going to comply -- >> when you are carrying passengers, it is a little bit unique. we don't explain the planes enroute and pull them over to the side or parachute the passengers out while we do an f.a.a. inspection. the presumption that that plane should be inspected before it ever takes off and same thing with amtrak and others that don't meet safety standards. we aren't pulling the train over and disembark on the side of the
track and we'll do a quick f.t.a. inspection. so, again, you want a practical solution. i'm trying to stop them, i think with mr. defazio, getting in business in the first place and staying -- when i ask the staff how many operators do we have and they say federal motor carrier safety administration can't tell us because it is a revolving and evolving number, the way things are set up now and people get into business by various means. again, they are circumventing the provisions we have. how do we get a handle on that from the beginning? >> the most efficient model is to combine the roadside inspection where we have 12,000 strong who are trained
commercial, complemented by the new entrant grant program that is in existence today in the context of a pre-safety audit by federal and state inspectors and with our budget request we include $20 million in state grants in the context of strengthening the component of these programs. in terms of what is the most efficient model, it's taking part of those components, utilizing it more effectively. >> when it comes enforcement, we are in favor of getting bad actors off the road and in favor of more inspections and one of
the ways that we have talked about in the past of giving more resources is not only increasing the budget, but taking those companies that are undergoing department of defense inspections, about 400, 500 of them and take them off to the side. they are being inspected. inspections almost the same and some would say it is more rigorous but why them re-inspected by the same state and federal inspection system when they have been looked at very rigorously? >> i'll never forget the testimony we had in one of our field hearings where a small family operator, a husband and wife actually of a trucking firm, i think in this case, and the wife gave testimony -- was that in arkansas -- might have been. we did a number of hearings. but the wife had compiled a list
of all the agencies that their firm, husband and wife, had to comply with and read that thing and must have taken her five minutes to read all the agencies and regs she had to deal with. and after that, she cited all the taxes and all the fees that they had to pay. it was quite an eye opener and the problem we have in dividing the economic pie in congress or in any legislative body is how much regulation, taxation impositions do you put on businesses. it's easier for a big player that is maybe on the stock exchange to stay in business and we want everyone to comply as far as safety. but we have to balance the small operator and give them some shot
and sometimes folks are trying to eliminate some of the competition again through overregulation of an industry. so we do have that balance to keep in mind. and thank you again, jackie for your testimony. a number of your recommendations, we are considering. and i hope that through better inspections and better authority requirements on safety equipment and things of that sort that we can have safer buses and better passenger bus safety. so thank you. don't have to comment, but we appreciate your advocacy. let me yield to the ranking member, mr. defazio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. both to our witnesses, you were
emfatic about enroute. how would you solve this problem, danger, safety, inconvenience, how can we solve the enroute problem, because it is critical for the gypsy operators. they have no fixed place of business. they have a post office box somewhere. how would you do it? >> clearly we set clear guidelines in terms of where, when and what conditions need to exist in order for that bus to be pulled over in a safe place. there is a suggestion to consider something like this, continuity of insurance for bus operators and would be provide another bus to come to the location to move passengers away safely. so there are provisions like that to ensure the safety and safe passage of the passengers. but for the specific process, i would defer to major palmer. >> that is absolutely correct.
i really don't know the numbers, but in texas, for example, we have policies and procedures in place so even under current regulation if you stop an enroute bus for a serious safety violation, we have procedures in place that the utmost importance when we stop a bus wherever it's at is the safety of the passengers and the driver and also our enforcement officer. we don't want to put them in harm's way any more than we want to put passengers. for example, depending on where it was and for whatever reason that bus was stopped, if it was deemed unsafe, then we would escort that bus to a safe location and inspect it there to ensure that the passengers are well taken care of. typically, a very quick screening or even a driver inspection, you know you are talking maybe 10, 15 minutes to
be able to do that typically and we would focus on those efforts. it's been the late 1990's since i inspected a bus, but when i would stop a bus roadside back then, one of the first things i would do after i made initial contact with the driver, i would address the passengers because the passengers are like what's going on. and what i found historically is that the passengers were very appreciatetive when we did take that time and tell them what you are looking for and about the safety aspects, they encouraged that. we would have specific procedures in place. that's something we can provide leadership on and would be able to provide -- we have operational policies that all the states agree to through our m.o.u.'s and enforce that enhancement. >> if a bus is speeding, you can stop them. if a truck is speeding, you can
stop them. we had an elderly person who drove back into the bus and clearly not good driving. and to say we shouldn't have any capability of pulling people over because every once in a while, someone who is asleep or on a cell phone is going to drive into them. this is a problem. my state, if the proper car is there and bus is there, you are required to move the lane and move to the left. you can protect people for a short stop. but i think having an absolute prohibition favors the people who do not have a fixed base of operation. when are you going to get them, when they stop in downtown new york which changes every day? i think opposing this entirely is not reasonable and would urge the association saying that there should be no capability, think about how we can get at it
again, how do we get at the bad actors and this is the key. from both, from law enforcement and from the administrator, it was key. i think we need to modify that provision of the law. the other thing would be state inspections. i see here in the a.b.a. testimony that you say state inspection programs must be strengthened, fewer than a dozen states have effective bus inspection programs and less than half have any program at all? >> that's correct. mr. defazio, we don't think there are enough states focusing on buses but focusing on trucks. they are doing an admirable job with the resources they have but not enough are focused on bus. we saw the accident happened in new jersey two months ago. that company was supposedly based in pennsylvania, but no one ever saw them in
pennsylvania. the company that had the accident in -- there were no sign of buses at that facility or house whatsoever. we are concerned. we are concerned about the way companies operate as you are. and we are concerned about the safety of the passengers. most of our passengers are seniors or they are children. we have passengers with disabilities who are on the coach. whatever change there is, should allow for accommodation of those passengers. >> and on the operating out of a housing development or post office box, it seems to me that requiring an annual inspection by each state of these -- of each vehicle every year would -- would that be an unreasonable burden? >> it would not be unreasonable. >> and that would get at some of
those people. it would be like this is a little different than with the coast guard and you can get them to certify your boat on an annual basis and very improbable they will do a random boarding to do a safety inspection. if we did do annual inspections and people had some sort of dec arch l, obviously they can be counter fitted or whatever, than that would be someone that the police would be much less likely to look at than someone who needs an enroute inspection. getting the states to do this and requiring them to do it and some sort of a process and then perhaps -- and i will take it one step further, what if you had to annually -- why wouldn't you say on an annual basis you
have to show that your vehicle has been inspected or we will suspend that authority? >> mr. defazio, as we look at the new entrant program, $300 is not enough. it costs $350 to get a hot dog license on the streets of washington, d.c.,. we have people who are going to be carrying 50-plus people at a time. there should be a higher bar of entry. and if there is a higher amount, it could fund the pre-inspections. >> do you have a number in mind? >> could be $1,000, $2,000. can't create a barrier. it is a mom and pop small business. we want to encourage that, but at the same time, we want to make sure people that are coming in have the wherewithal to maintain their equipment and if
they don't have more than $300, i question it down the road. >> we don't have any objection to raising the bar. we want to make sure that the bar is reasonable. if it's $500 or $1,000, that is reasonable, but we want to make sure it isn't a barrier. because these companies create jobs and good for the economic base of wherever they are. >> i got that, but i'm glad you agree. to the administrator, do you have the authority to do that or is that statutory? >> currently it is statutory and we would propose increasing the limit. and it is a one-time fee. >> that seems like we have some consensus and hopefully something we can put on the bill. requirements for state inspections, one-time fee for registration that could do the pre-inspections and go one step further. the chairman referenced
airlines. well, when we do airlines, we require that the operator actually be certified. and i have been here long enough that i remember when we through frank lorenzo out of the industry. we talk about background checks and could we have background checks for operators because then we could get at the phantom problem, because we know this person and they had a company that violated and not a qualified operator to start a different company with a different name and run these buses. could we have something like that? >> yes. in terms of liability and responsibility for principals who have been identified as unsafe, that they could be barred in some regard from operating or -- >> can you do that or need
statutory authority? >> statutory authority. >> some of these are bad repeat offenders. we want to provide more business for the good operators. thank you, mr. chairman. there are a few things we can do to help here. >> mr. coble. >> the private over the road bus provides 750 million passenger trips annually. how safe is the motor coach industry compared to other modes of transportation? >> is that a question for me? i think we have agreed with many of the other speakers that it is among the safest. we are somewhat limited in our inspection data on the industry at large by virtue of this inspection restriction that the enforcement is currently under, but, yes, generally in terms of the number of crashes, they are very low.
>> i realize that accidents are inevitable and going to occur, but do you attribute anything to the recent motor coach access? >> let me clarify again, the vast majority of the industry is operating very effectively and small operators have made safety and profitability have gone hand in hand. in regard to the recent crash again, we are in the midst of the investigation, but at the outset we can see that the facility with which some of the bad actors move equipment and drivers among companies with valid.numbers is one of the loopholes in our perspective. we need stronger leasing operation which is within the authority that we need to proceed with as well as stronger tools to prohibit reincarnation on a more effective level than
we can do. >> mr. coble, could i add to that? i just wanted to say that motor coach crashes have increased dramatically and we have many more people taking them and our safety systems are not adequate. while, yes, it is a relatively safe mode of transportation, we have this double standard where we have zero tolerance for aviation crashes where we have as many people using motor coaches, this year, 24 people have been killed and dozens have been injured in motor coach crashes. >> major palmer, distinguish for me if you will, the difference between enroute bus inspections and strike force operations and in terms of time and money, which of the two serve us better? >> they are both unique in their
own right. they ultimately accomplish inspections, but do it in a different way. the enroute inspection is something -- it's a surprise. it's not something that you can prepare for. i mean, the good carriers out there don't have an issue. the ones that don't, they don't have time to prepare or change out some equipment or make quick fixes to get by for a day. most of the strike forces that are done now are related to -- they are either going to be some type of imminent violation involved before they are stopped, but actually they are destination inspections, either origin or where they are going to end up. >> are strike force inspections, give an advanced notice? >> they can be both. they are a surprise in the beginning, but once the first group of buses get there to the location and we start inspecting them, then the surprise is gone. so then other folks can find out
that that's where we're at. but they both have their benefit, it's just that the -- you are isolated to a particular location. you're also at the mercy of either a business, whether it be somebody like sea world or fiesta texas or some other enue or the actual passenger carrier company whether they would let us come to their facility. that's one of the downsides of the origin and destination. >> i have one quick question for the administrator, it's my understanding that you grant the operating authority for all these buses and it's my understanding that.gave operating authority to sky express worldwide travel and super luxury tours, operating
authority from.and you get that number -- you gave all of those, right? those were the ones involved in -- but after the incidents, you withdrew that authority. >> all three of those carriers had passenger carrier authority prior to our vetting program and all three have been shut down, that's correct. >> well, again, that answers my question but i'm concerned that it didn't happen in reverse order. >> i reclaim and yield back. >> let me yield to ms. richardson. >> first of all, in your testimony on page three, you reference a new program, think safety every trip every time and you talk about the fact that this is available online. what other process do you have in place for consumers to know about this? this seems a little unrealistic. i was recently in new york and bought a ticket for the loop trip, i didn't go online and i'm
a fairly informed consumer. what else are you doing besides this to communicate with people? >> we have several strategies. one is to make sure people know that there is safety information available on our web site about carriers and some of the trade associations also provide links to individual carriers' safety data so that customers themselves can link in and understand that they can think safety every trip every time. >> but other than web sites, what process do you have for the average consumer in the testimony today, it was spoken about -- you are talking about seniors. do you have any plan, any process, people call a number, is there something available in bus areas that they have to post? what other aggressive things have you done? and if not, it's ok, we need to know where we are. >> two particular areas, there are van operators and faith-based community who
utilize 16-passenger advance whom we have reached out to in the past. motor coach operations, it's through our web site, this particular campaign that the secretary launched recently, but i would add importantly, it's the proposal through our technical assistance to allow us to regulate brokers, those who sell tickets online and travel services -- >> i don't think you are understanding my question. the question i'm asking you, if i'm an average consumer, i go to buy a ticket for a motor coach and i walk up to gray hound lines or new york loop trip, how do i know that it's safe or they have a decall or they are approved by the department of transportation? is there any system you have in place to communicate to the
average consumer who walks up, not someone who is using a web site, who walks up, do we have any communication? >> we do not. >> you mention in your testimony that you think that there should be some sort of inquiry into the fitness of an operator prior to that individual being able to begin operations. can you describe more what you meant by that. >> absolutely. there is an 18-month window and they have done a great job of shortening that window. before the first passenger gets on board, someone needs to look at that carrier and ask them where they are getting the maintenance done, what kind of equipment, what kind of training do they have for their driver, how knowledgeable is the operator, those kinds of questions before the trip takes place and before someone gets on board. >> if there is no objection,
would you mind submitting those helpful questions that should be considered? >> i will. >> couple of other things that i wanted to ask a few questions on , miss administrator, there was talk that the states use the same pool of funding for truck inspections as they do for bus inspections, and coming from a port community, that is problematic, are you opposed to having legislation that is more specifically directed and making sure that the operators get funds? >> through the annual commeerings vehicle safety plan process, we require states to develop and include in their plans, which is part of their annual grant application process the identification of a region or state appropriate bus safety plan driven by what their bus safety data is saying, by their
bus population. it is incorporated in every state safety plan. with regard to your proposal, i would be happy to work with the committee on that. >> my last question and the remainder i will submit for the record, mr. pantuso said dozens of states don't have programs at all. is it your understanding, do you concur or did i accurately describe your statement? >> the statement is, to clarify it, we don't see good bus inspection programs in a lot of places. some states are vigorous, minnesota, michigan, does a great, great job, california does a great job, massachusetts does a great job, new jersey, connecticut, others that do very good jobs yet at the same time we see a lot of places that don't put enough emphasis on bus inspections. >> are you working with the a.b.a.? >> we work closely with our
stake holders to identify the best strategies. we root out the worst offenders. >> you are familiar with the ones that they feel are not appropriate? >> we are familiar with that concern and it has been part and parcel over the past four years why the agency has created an expectation of a bus safety plan. it is truly an evolving process and part of our expectation for each state and we work closely with those states on strike forces. >> i thank the gentlelady. and i grant unanimous consent that the recommendation requested by the gentlelady from california be made a part of the record. mr. defazio, ask unanimous consent that the record of today's hearing remain opened for a period of two weeks for submission. information or response to questions by the committee. without objection, so ordered. let me recognize the gentleman
from pennsylvania. i apologize for the delay. i know you want to get out by 4:00. mr. shuster. >> i'm a little confused on the roadside inspections, so i'll direct the question to you and see what your answers are and maybe you'll clarify for me. are we allowed to do -- it's not prohibited to do roadside inspections? >> roadside inspections are authorized for high risk operator behavior. if that driver is showing extreme rates of speed, unsafe operating procedures, they can certainly take action. >> what about targeting a bus company that has shown it has violated operations, safety rules that you wouldn't be -- or a reason to target them? >> that's not authorized through the current statute, no.
>> your view on that. >> congressman, again, our concern goes back to the safety of the passengers and if there is a change in the law as long as the passengers are in some fashion protected and the seniors, the students, those passengers with disabilities are taken care of and not left on a hot bus or adequate facilities, fine with modifications to the existing law. >> if the bill that i proposed, if we put in there allowing those bus operations that don't have a home base, is that something your industry or you would have support, being able to inspect them on the road, because some of your operators have a home base and easy to get in there. >> that's a good question. companies that operate from the curb, if you will, like some of the ones operating point to
point, might have a home base and hopefully they have garage, facilities and training. some place there is a home base. they all take passengers to the same place. they all go to the same destinations, if it's a charter or tour, their passengers are going to the same place that good bus company passengers are. coming to washington, going to new york, they are doing other point-to-point service. there is an origin. if there is an opportunity to do it enroute and take care of the passengers. the passengers are first and foremost. >> i would add to that and i would hope that if a company does have a marginal safety record they would be stopped before they even get on the road, whether it be closing them down or the c.s.a. program, for example, right now, red flags those companies that may not have had an accident but because of one of the five categories,
they are considered a risk. they have an alert listing next to their name. and we'll intercede at that point. and when the carrier has enough alerts on their listing, that they would be prevented from operating. that's the best way to catch them as opposed to trying to get them on the road. >> i would just add --, the challenge are these rogue operators would never have been inspected because we don't know where the origin or destination is. they are stopping at empty, sort of abandoned sites, large parking lots, that were map quested and not a tourist destination. we don't have them. >> they start somewhere.
they got some sort of home base. >> if i may add, i can give you an example in texas, in the houston area, we have some of these operators that literally the only way we can figure out where they're at or pick up, is we go to certain areas and we look for fliers and the fliers tell them where to pick them up at and that's one of the major challenges and that is happening in houston, texas. and the other thing is in relationship to specific legal language about the enroute inspection would be applied to would be very -- it would be very difficult and to us, from a state perspective, that's more of a policy issue and that could be a policy and at the very least you would see the states would implement certain policies to ensure the safety of the passengers because that's the bottom line. we want them to be safe.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> we take you live to new orleans on the final day of the republican leadership conference. you'll hear remarks from governor rick perry, former louisiana governor, and rans priebus and the son of former governor jeb bush. and results of the straw paul will be announced later this afternoon. live coverage now on c-span. ♪ ♪ >> good morning everyone. please welcome the congressman.
[applause] >> good morning. well, you all sound a little down today. good morning! ok very good. much better. folks, i'm congressman john fleming. i represent the fourth district of louisiana. that's the sleemb port area all the way down to kinder, louisiana and i'm married 33 years -- [applause] >> thank you. i have four kids, and two grand
kids. my background is a physician. i have been a doctor for 36 years. i'm one of 17 doctors in the house of representatives, all republicans. [cheers and applause] >> we have two republican doctors in the senate, and we do have one physician who is a democrat in the house of representatives, but he is a psychiatrist. so we don't count him. no ofens to psychiatrists, they do a great job. entrepreneur, i started my own business apart from my medical practice back in the mid-1980's and now employ over 500 in my businesses and every day we work to earn what we have and trust me, in my opinion, i don't think you should be in washington working for the people unless
you have had this experience, and that is, it's thursday night and you have $20,000 in the bank and have to make a payroll tomorrow for $9,000. if we had more politicians who had to did do that, it would be a different world. now, look, i have some questions for you today and i want your answers. number one, washington democrats say we should keep spending just the way we have for the last 2 1/2 years and maybe even have another stimulus plan. what do you say? >> no! >> i agree with you. there's no way -- i say the very day that that sthrust plan passed, that this was a fool'ser and, all we are going to do small businesses. 70% of jobs are created by small businesses. washington democrats say we should raise the debt ceiling
another $2.5 trillion with no strings attached. what do you say? >> no! >> very good, i agree with you, but let me caution you, there are people in washington and some of them are even republicans who say maybe we should go along with this, maybe we should go along with a little income tax increase -- >> no! >> let me tell you, folks, this plan about putting some sort of restraints ourselves and future congresses, we won't make the hard decisions now and put it on future congresses, that has been tried for years and fails every time. beware, the only way we can truly solve this problem, among other things, and you recall senator demint talked about the imbalanceance and the only way to make this permanent and handcuff future congresses and the president is to have a
balanced budget amendment to the constitution of the united states. [applause] >> now washington democrats say we should solve the unemployment problem by growing government and having more government bureaucrats. what do you say? >> no! >> i agree with you. every dollar that you put in to government through your taxes is returned to you with less. but every dollar that goes into the private sector where jobs are created is magnified many times over. that's where the capital needs to go, not entrapped in washington among a bunch of politicians. the president says he should be able to attack other countries after consulting the u.n., but ignoring congress and the
american people. what do you say? >> no! >> i agree with you. not only is that wrong, not only is that against the law, it is unconstitutional. [inaudible] [applause] >> the president says that commerce, like banking, petroleum, agriculture and manufacturing would function better with thousands more regulations and deep intrusion of the e.p.a. and the i.r.s. what do you say? >> no! >> folks, i talk to people all across my district and all across the state and the country, they tell me, please, congressman, we need help, we need relief from the e.p.a. we have to go to different agencies that duplicate efforts to get permits. farmers tell me if they get some sort of infestation, by the time they get the permit to treat it,
their crops are what? dead! gone! this is the way the president wants to govern. the president, secretary salazar and chu and others say that gasoline and electricity prices should go up much more. yes, they have said this. the president said under his cap and trade plan that electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket. secretary chu of energy says, that it would be a good thing if gasoline prices went up because then alternative sources of energy would become more cost effective. what do you say? >> no! >> we need gas prices down. that's one of the damaging parts of our economy today. the president and secretary salazar say we shouldn't be issuing as many offshore drilling permits as before.
despite the fact that it is bankrupting louisiana companies and unemploying tens of thousands of people of louisiana from great jobs. what do you say? >> no! >> i agree with you. we have been through a moratorium, a defack toe moratorium, a per hit torium. and despite what you hear from the administration, the production of offshore oil is going down, it peaked at 1.7 million barrels a day and down to 1.59 million barrels and will drop next year by 200,000 barrels a day. we have to get those rigs back up and going. the president and washington democrats believe that despite hard years of hard work, risk taking and sacrifice to build for your future, that uncle sam is entitled to some of what you have to give to others who have
chosen not to work and to not to save. what do you say? >> no! >> i agree with you. as long as we pay people not to work, what do you expect them to do? as long as you take away from those who produce, then you are taking away the very incentive that gets them up in the morning that gets their blood going that makes entrepreneurs to work 80 hours a week that i have and take the risk, a second mortgage on their home and make a $9,000 payroll when you only have $2,000 in the bank. now democrats feel that raising taxes and not cutting spending is a solution to our budget problems. what do you say? >> no! >> absolutely not. folks, politicians got us into
this problem. this debt is from politicians. why should you who work hard every day, why should you now pay for it? and also in washington, money is an addiction. and you have seen this time and time again. as soon as the revenues begin to go up, what happens? start spending again. so we've got to start by cutting the spending and putting discipline into place in our government and the rest will take care of itself, folks. and here's something else. you are going to hear from the washington democrats and even from some republicans in the coming days that you know, maybe we do need to increase taxes a little bit on those who are already paying taxes. we know that 10% of americans today pay about 70% of the tax revenue. so i suggest to you that that's not going to work because what that does is take away the
incentive to produce. instead of taxing more those who already pay taxes is let's have more taxpayers! [applause] >> now where the taxpayers come from? they are the employed, people who are not employed are not going to pay taxes. and why do we get them employed? small businesses. and so it's important for our government if we are going to build revenue, is to create more taxpayers because we employ more people because we help our businesses, we facilitate them in pushing america forward. that has been our tradition and legacy and will always be that way if we are going to be successful in a first rate country. my last question, washington democrats say that government should run, if not own, the nation's health care system. what do you say? >> no! >> absolutely not.
folks, if there's any one thing that is killing job creation today, it is obamacare. and i'm telling you this as a physician and someone who insures my employees. this system is a disaster and i'm sure some of you are only now realizing that sometime in the future if you sell your home and make profit, you are going to have to pay 3.8% profit because of obamacare. also, we are going to be hiring 16,000 new i.r.s. agents. yes, with your tax money, we're going to go -- it's their purpose and their job to make sure and guarantee that you have the gold-plated obamacare kind of insurance. folks, the american people have rejected that. the rasmussen poll, which is the most accurate of any tell us
that the vast majority of people don't want government-run health care or obamacare and i'm going to make a bold prediction that i don't think anyone has made yet. in 2012, we're going to hold onto the house of representatives. we are going to take back the united states senate -- [cheers and applause] >> and we are going to take the white house and have a brand new republican president, perhaps someone who who is speaking here today or yesterday. and one more thing -- [applause] >> when that president takes office, within one month, within 30 days, i would like to say the same day he's sworn in, but i want to give myself leeway here, within one month of taking office, he will sign the ultimate repeal of obamacare once and for all. [cheers and applause]
>> folks, we're just getting started. i'm going to be your emcee for today. we have a great lineup for you. we may have a few surprises, who knows. now wait a second. wait a second now. i don't want to overpromise and underproduce. [laughter] >> next up, i would like to introduce to you the president of the louisiana federation of republican women, june williams. give her a big round of applause. [applause] >> thank you so much. good morning. yes, i'm very proud to be the
president of louisiana federation of republican women. i am from louisiana and just so glad that we have such a great turnout here of our federation members. it is with great honor and a privilege that i introduce to you our national federation of republican women sue lynch from the great state of wisconsin. [cheers and applause] >> good morning. good morning. thank you. thank you. and thank you for inviting us to participate in this conference. thank you, charlie, ruth, roger and the g.o.p. of louisiana for all your hard work to make this
event a success. the ffrw is the women's largest political organization in the country. we have 77,000-plus members in 48 states and puerto rico. we have over 1,500 clubs and 103 of those clubs have been established since january of 2010. and our membership chairman is from the great state of louisiana. [applause] >> i would also like to acknowledge some of our executive committee members who are here with us today, first, i would like to introduce ray from arizona, pat from maryland, jesse from louisiana and kathy from california. we believe working together with our partners is essential to have a victory in 2012.
i'd like to mention a few of our state presidents who are here, june, kathy from missouri, rita from mississippi, rebecca from texas and leona from arizona. [applause] >> now i would like you all to rise and join with me in prayer. heavenly father, ruler of heaven and earth, bless and glide those who govern our communities, states and nation. enlighten and enable them to rule according to your holy commands, give them wisdom, honesty, integrity, courage, strength and good judgment, that we may enjoy peace and prosperity at home and protection from our enemies within and abroad.
make us strong to do your work, not to advance our own purpose, but to serve you. hear us for the sake of our lord, jesus christ, amen. thank you and god bless america. [applause] >> please remain standing as laura will perform "the national anthem." ♪ o say can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hail at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright
oer the land of the free and the home of the brave ♪ [cheers and applause] >> now, ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing and john perry is a disabled veteran, helicopter pilot in the united states army, a candidate for the louisiana house of representatives and he will lead us in the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
[cheers and applause] ♪ >> the republican nomination for president of the united states, buddy roamer. ♪ >> thank you, welcome to louisiana. those of you who are visiting. when our nation began, it was separated by thousands of miles of the atlantic ocean from the shores of the king. in many ways, because of the
distance and the benevolence of the monarch and the colonies were the freest place on earth. but the fear grew that the monarch would turn increasingly heavy handed and that taxation without representation would become the rule. the tyranny of the king would rule the land, so we decided to claim our self-governing freedom. it wasn't one act by either side that did it, but it happened over time. we are maybe the only nation that revolted not to gain freedom, but to maintain it. that's how deep it runs in
america. unlike the french or the russians, we were already free. but we wanted the tyranny to know that it was a gift of god, not of the king. as gordon wood points out in a recent wonderful book, it was the idea of america that drove the revolution, the idea that we had inalienable rights, such as freedom, and wouldn't depend on the king or a tyrant or a dictator or an army to maintain those rights. we knew that if it did, it would lead to tyranny, tyranny, actions to benefit the few, not the many. the idea of america is that we
are at risk of tyranny even when we're free. and it was this idea that caused the revolution, the idea that built a nation in revolt, not an event, an idea. today, 200 years later, we are run by the tyranny of the special interests and their checkbooks. [applause] >> lobbyist money, p.a.c. special association money, think about it. think about the idea of it. i refer you to a tax code that is unreadable, with loopholes for the rich and famous, which favors the corporations, that
send our best jobs overseas and where g.e. can make a profit last year of $14.2 billion worldwide and pay not one penny of federal income taxes. and you know what? they gave $4.3 million in political contributions to candidates for president. that was four years ago. corporations never made more profit than they did this year. how do you feel? after this nation was brought to its knees in the last recession by the wall street banks and other companies, which received trillions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts and credit enhancement money without a single thank you in return, did you get your thank you? i refer you to a bank reform bill that allows too big to fail
to remain, that did not address the capital ratio, that did not restore the provisions of glass- steagall, and that acted like wall street banks are making america great again -- the great robbery. i wonder how this happened. at the age of 67, a guy that has built $1 billion in banks that did not take one penny of bailout money, i wonder how it happened. could it be that the financial sector of wall street, the largest political check writers in the nation last cycle -- could it be that goldman sachs was the single largest financial contributor at $3.4 million and that no one went to jail for fraud for lying or for the big scam? could it be? [applause]
i will talk about the money given by the insurance companies. -- i will not talk about the money given by the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical companies. they are some giants. -- that give us a health care reform bill that did nothing to lower the cost of government care. they did not require insurance companies to compete across state lines or open pharmaceutical companies up for competition or lower their price for volume or competition from canada. these were the monopoly protectors in the bill. i do not have to remind you of the subsidies and special favors in a federal operating budget that is so out of balance that the national debt will double from its current historic high in the next eight years and is
so full of gimmicks and a rosy assumptions that i believe that that horrible picture is understated. ok, so our political leadership, a democrat and republican, decided to subsidize ethanol, oil at $100 a barrel, gas, unproven energy technology, housing, fannie mae and freddie mac, and on and on and on. but follow the money. d.c. is rigged. they do not read the bill. they do not have time to. they are raising money. [applause] they are working out lobbyist jobs upon retirement. from the very companies buying favors before their committee.
this is institutional corruption. it is tyranny. [applause] let me tell you something you did not know, because you knew all of that. let me tell you something you did not know. in the last political cycle for president, more money was contributed from the washington, d.c., area than from 32 states combined. the working poor and the middle- class americans don't give. 99% of the citizens don't give. has mushroomedng into a casino for special favors. the party is thrown by those who
need government contracts or hidden favors or secret conferences or deals. 1% of the people give the money, and they want to savor and access, a help, a relief. i am the only person running for president who has been both a congressman and a governor. wow. [applause] i've seen the rigged money game grow, and grow, and grow, and although i specialize in beating incumbent democrats for congress and for governor on issues of corruption and special interest, i have never seen anything like the tyranny that wlakalks our land, the tyranny of the special
interest, alive in america today. we did not get here by accident. the president refuses to leave because he is busy running wall street for a fundraiser at $35,000 a ticket. or running to a houston for the big oil money. the man of change you can count on is raising $1 billion from special interest. that has changed. it used to be only $250 million. you thought it was the poor who wrot ehte the tax code? you thought it was the middle- class that busted the budget? you thought it was the working people who sent our jobs overseas? while we taxpayers paid for it. america is in trouble, and we
can do better, folks. we must be bold. we owe more money than any nation on earth. who cares? you ask. it is just a debt. i am going to quote abraham lincoln. "excess of the debt shrinks a nation." do you feel like being shrunk? president jefferson guysville louisiana purchase for pennies on the acre from napoleon who was broke and it needed to finance another war. excess of that debt shrinks a nation. america and doubles and france disappeared from the new world. well. -- wow.
america is in trouble. we can do better. we must be bold. we spend without discipline. in the last two years, out of budget. to hit the sweet spot for growth and begin to get the dead in control, we must disciplined spending and totally reformed the tax code. that is the easy part. we spent $300 billion a month and borrow $120 billion of its from our competitors. nice move, america. we must reduce spending to get spending down to 18.5% of gdp. and enhance job growth. we can do it by reducing spending $140 billion a year for five years, 1% a year of the gdp. i have identified six broad areas of reduction targets, from
$50 billion to $150 billion. everything is on the table. entitlements -- our special concern because of their growth rate and the fact that they comprise such a huge part of the debt. medicare alone is 26% of the budget. entitlements will not be destroyed or eliminated, but certain actions are required to preserve their financial integrity. on the social security, i would change the retirement age gradually over time. one month a year for 24 years. i would bring the new retirement and wouldith the age not raise any taxes or lower and the benefits for social security. one month a year for 24 years. on medicare, we would need to
lower the growth rate to maintain sovereignty. he could still grow and protect seniors. -- it could still grow and protect seniors. i would begin with a systematic reform of insurance. pharmaceuticals and tort lawyers, you and competition across state lines, caps, and discounts. [applause] help medicare.st it helps every american, young and old. i will let tax-free savings accounts for american workers. i would offer a 25% an incentive to providers who institute procedures who would save money for patients and the system.
incentivize them. innovation would explode. the health care system would be changed. i would target other agencies, other parts of government with management. i would downsize, downsized, downsized. you could take transportation. the projects are local and state. i would eliminate the department of energy. [cheering and applause] i would put education where it works best, back home with parents and the grandparents. [cheering and applause] the housing subsidies are gone. fannie mae and freddie mac will be buried by me personally. [cheering and applause] to the embarrassment of clinton,
bush, obama, and most congressmen in between. with the appointment of a handful of dedicated americans, we would turn around this bankrupt institutional government, downsizing and managing it to health. that is what i would do. we would consolidate i.t., standardized software cannot replace half of all of the federal workers who will retire in the next 10 years. that is 42%, by the way. and replace them with technology, providing better service, lower payroll costs, and is sustainable budget. i was shocked when i read the budget. it is been 20 years. 20 years, in the real world building jobs. i read it. do you know that we have 18
different food assistance programs? 20 different homelessness programs. 80 different programs in usda, dot, education, the interior, hhs, hud, department of labor, and va to transport disadvantaged citizens to needed services. management, management, management. get used to the number one when it comes to service. not 18, 20, or 80. [applause] it is what i do as a ceo. tax reform is another fundamental step in the turnaround. i will keep it simple. the code should be simple. the current code is written by
the lobbyists. it is a disgrace by any score. it is now promoting growth. it is unreadable and deliberately so. we need simplicity, broadbased fairness, lowest marginal rates possible with the fewest exemptions and carveouts. i like the concept of a fair tax, however are you prepared to pay 23% to 33% rate that it calls for? i would rather starve with a top rate at 575,000 of 26% favoring small businesses. i would settle corporate between 14 and 18 depending on how many loopholes that we can get rid of. we will lay the platform for
growth and combine it with budget discipline. we will go for simplicity, clarity, fairness, flatter rates, but progress and the lowest marginal rate possible to make us a haven for capital. we will 0 the tax on dividends and capital gains. [applause] we will zero the state taxes up to 10 million and index that dollar amount so it will go up over time. we will eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the marriage penalty. [applause] let me give you some news. it is not enough. i love all of these candidates talking about scrubbing the budget. most of them have never done it. but it is not enough.
he needs to be done. but it is not enough. our actions must be bolder. because we are a nation producing no new jobs. it is not enough. 1.1 million jobs in the last 12 years. our unemployment rate combined with our not looking rate is the 7.5%. when you add those that are working part-time or took a job at 40% less pay, one out of four american families are hurting today. they are hurting. those who have a job are scared of losing it. not only is unemployment killing
america, but the pace of the jobs that we do have is not keeping faith with life's needs. we have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and what is left do not pay anything. we traded the manufacturing jobs of america for the service jobs. callald's, insurance, support teams, wal-mart -- these are decent jobs, but they are hard to build a family with, aren't they? they are hard to build a community, a church, impossible to build a nation. we used to be a nation that made hings, buliuilt things, manufactured things. made in america. do you remember it? it used to mean something. you could drive across america.
come with me and the next week. drive across america in town after town. south dakota, louisiana -- there was a town with a ball bearing factory. it is gone. or if furniture plant. it is gone. or a clothing manufacturer. they are gone. or an auto parts plant. it is moved away. we only have 8% of our work force in manufacturing. the rest of us is in service or sales or work for the the government. looking back, i believe we gave many of these jobs away. maybe i am guilty. i was in congress eight years. looking back, i think we were hurt by technology. that has any effect. productivity has in effect.
i think we were hurt by bad management. i think we were hurt by heavy- handed and short-cited union actions. but the biggest chunk of our best jobs wheat gained 08 to china, mexico, japan, india, korea. we sell them grain, and our best jobs, and they sell us everything else. as stephen more wrote in the wall street journal a few weeks ago, which used to be a nation of makers. we are now a nation of takers. more people work for the government today in manufacturing, farming, fishing, construction combined. made in america? not anymore. we must take bold action, and i am going to do it.
[applause] scrubbing the budget is good, revising the tax code is necessary. but it is not enough for a nation at risk. number one. i am a ronald reagan tax cut guy. all i was in congress voting with him as a conservative democrat from 1981 until 1988 when i became governor of louisiana. you see those same principles in my low marginal rate proposal. however, we need to do more. number one, do you know what the new taxes are? regulations. the democrats cannot pass a tax, so they pass regulations. did you know that we had 81,405
pages of regulatory comments printed in the 2010 alone? 81,000. do you know there are 4000 new regulations in the pipeline express? some 66 new major regulations implemented in 2010, only 16 had a cost-benefit analysis. large business does not care. they have tax lawyers, compliance officers, lobbyists. what about small business people? these are the men and women who create the new jobs of america. two out of three. do they have this kind of let's deal with the regulations? small business paid more for regulations last year than they did in taxes. regulations are the new taxes. i would go back to january 1,
2008, and every regulation imposed since then would be rescinded. [cheers and applause] go to work, america, and it will be small business that leads us back. we will be regulate them -- we will deregulate them. we will break our addiction to foreign oil. what a disgrace. [applause] we will be energy independent by the end of the decade. we will utilize all forms of domestic production. we will eliminate the $500 billion annual trade imbalance and create 1 million new energy jobs for america. [applause]
the government will not take winners and losers. it cannot. at the marketplace will decide to mix the price and the content. the federal government will open all of its land, on shore and off, to drilling in a safe manner. [cheers and applause] we will provide, promote, and protect energy drilling in an environmentally sound manner. but drill we will. [applause] further, after renewed drilling has begun, we will begin to tear rest imported oil to -- we will begin to tariff imported oil. tariff revenue will not be used
for government operations, but we will reduce the principal on our national debt. [applause] our foreign energy tariff will be imposed on all nations except mexico and canada. regulations will allow for expedited clearance depending upon the topography to be drilled. we will have regulations that will allow for the expansion of domestic refining capacity. when necessary, regulations will be cooperative, instructive, and enforced by state agencies. the department of energy will be disbanded and defunded. [cheers and applause] that only saves $25 billion the first year. any useful valued or necessary
function of the department will be reassigned to other existing federal agencies. all energy subsidies will be eliminated. including ethanol, oil, natural gas, and unproven energy technology. the savings will exceed $100 billion annually. [cheers and applause] we will open the nuclear waste facility in nevada. [applause] the safe generation of nuclear energy will assist our independence and should remain at about 20% of our domestic use. our foreign policy will take oil interests off the table. we will have no other marines or army personnel serving on oil duty. since we are no longer spending
$500 billion a year in the middle east on oil, the money that slips out to the terrorists will stop. [applause] the strengthening of our dollar through the elimination of a huge trade deficit created by the mass of purchasing of foreign oil will reduce the price of oil over time because it strengthens the dollar. helping all user nations while compromising the power and influence of opec. the chavez regime in venezuela will not be happy with this policy. we will. [applause] we will additionally erect a no- trade policy for all foreign products and attempted to be
imported into the united states containing a single drop of aranian oil in their production or transportation. this policy is aimed at iran until they agreed to discontinue their buildup of nuclear weapon capability. [applause] nuclear non-proliferation is our policy, and we are prepared to use the economic power and might of america and its allies in a focused way to get this done. finally, the jobs, benefits of energy independence are in calculable. millions in manufacturing who need a domestic supply of affordable energy. this is what "made in america" is how you build it.
this is what happens when this is your focus. people go back to work again. our third bold move will be to discontinue our nation's neglect of the issues surrounding fair trade and a loss of america's best jobs. we cannot protect american jobs from technology. we should embrace technology, but we have to take advantage of who we are. we can protect american jobs from free trade that isn't free. we will protect these jobs from unfair trading practices, from hidden barriers erected in other nations. on trade, i will be about free and fair. free alone has not worked with
america. we will start with fair. [applause] i am abraham lincoln on this point. a short version. [laughter] who believes that fair trade was what would turn america from a farmer into a builder. it is time that we look at it again. it is time that we will law quietly stand by and let our best and brightest be dusted off by unfair trade practices or the abuse of labor practices of others. we will no longer play the fool. we will practice free trade where it works, but we will practice of free trade in every relationship. finally, i am a banking ceo that is traveled the world -- india
to argentina, brazil, to let the non. i know when we are being taken advantage of. i know that our own corporate giants have never been more profitable than they are right now because they keep sending these high-priced american jobs overseas. i promise, we will change the tax code in the spending policies and to stop using your tax payer money to defend the practice of and enables the procedures of sending america's jobs overseas. fair trade. [applause] fair trade. fair trade will be as baluvalued as free. i will run successfully for president, excepting $100
maximum contributions. like i always do. no pac money, full disclosure. i will attempt to beat the tyranny of the big check. if we do not do this, the changes necessary to rebuild america will never happen. because washington is [unintelligible] the status quo will will. they will fight me every step of the way. the politically elite and entrenched never had it so good. d.c. is a boom town. wall street is near an all-time high. unemployment is at 9.1%. the wall street banks are as greedy as ever. no one is going to jail. obama is raising $1 billion for
reelection at $35,000 a ticket. obama did not call for this recession, but he has made it permanent. [laughter] [cheers and applause] blame people. i want working people. i want the guys that are getting foreclosed and downsized and laid off. it is not my ideas that make the right to be president. there are many good ideas out there. our job is to take them all in. it is my freedom to do what needs to be done. that is what is right and bold, to consider all the good ideas without being obligated to a special interest or
to business as usual. [applause] that is how all i have always run and how all i have always be the incumbent democrat. always. get on my website, www.buddyroemer.com. i have raised contributions from 45 states. no one else has. louisiana, texas, california, florida be my top five. i average $90.34 per donation. i have paid all of my bills, and i have money in the bank. my specialities, beating incumbent democrats who are institutionally corrupt, which headed for the united states congress and which i did for the government of louisiana. i did it with hard limits on giving. all the experts were united --
"roemer cannot win," they'd say. i need one american out of 100 to give me $100. that is more money than dare i mention mitt romney or john mccain had spent four years ago total. i need one out of 100. one out of 100. against obama, i need to out of 100. i will challenge him to five debates, from foreign policy to jobs. from illegal immigration to scrubbing the budget. we will decide at $100 a person who owns america. the billion dollar special interests or plain and good people?
[cheers and applause] ♪ >> they are trying to get me off. by last pooll had me known 3% of the people. i had to% of the vote. i would not trade places with anybody. the leader had 70% of the vote. who would you rather be? in the age of the internet and a nation in trouble, i ask you to stand with me. we can take this country back. thanks, everybody. [cheers and applause] ♪
bob livingston. [applause] >> good morning. good morning. i am bob livingston. i am not running for president. [laughter] but i have spent much of my life in this city. for those of you who have come from all far to be with us here at this great event, let me say welcome to new orleans. we hope you spend lots and lots of money. welcome to louisiana. thanks to a fellow by the name of president obama, republicans are now the dominant political party. [cheers and applause] and we control seven of the eight statewide elected offices and a majority of both the state legislative houses. [applause]
i guess i was not in the room at the time, but now i am the finance chairman. let me tell you all that if you did not already know it, louisiana, along with mississippi and kentucky, in state houses, and new jersey and virginia, a bellwether state for elections this year. we want to ask you to sow the seeds. make this a great election year so next year we will send a message that the nation must have a new president. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, i do not mean that we just need to change the policies. no, i mean the president
himself needs to go. i mean him. god bless him. i wish him well, but he needs to go back and reorganize those communities. [laughter] [applause] if for no other reason, frankly, because of the people all around him. we remember it got a lot of play about his religious leader rev. jeremiah wright who said "god damn america." his political leader is an unrepentant terrorist. one of his hollywood cruz wants to take the money from the rich, except his own, and give it to the government. most of his political appointments are self-declared liberals, progressive, socialists, and even one or two communists. he has the lowest percentage of
actual businessmen in his administration. his attorney general, eric holder, refuses to prosecute voter intimidation in pennsylvania, but he does not hesitate to prosecute the people of arizona for in forcing their own borders. [applause] holder insists on giving constitutional rights to un uniform terrorists yet he tries to prosecute the cia operatives who risked everything to ultimately succeed and kill osama bin laden. [applause] president obama has used his power to take money from the bond holders of general motors and chrysler to reward his union supporters. his national labor relations
board denied the right of boeing, a major american company, to open a new plant in south carolina to protect his union supporters in washington state. without concern of the consequences, he has nationalized one sixth of the economy by replacing our health- care system under obamacare. what did into policy say? we have to pass this bill so we can find out what is in its. they did. we are. and we don't like it. [laughter] -- [applause] the president has imperiled america by restricting energy resources by making us more independent on the wealthy adversaries around the world. instead of getting us out of two wars as he promised, he has embroiled us in a third in libya
with no idea of how it should end. now, yemen and others may be around the corner. he has tanked our dollar and ruined the prospects of millions of young americans around the country. all in the name of a managed economy. the academics love the though of managed economies. ever since karl marx, they have failed and failed every time. it did not work in the soviet union or in china or in cambodia or even not see germany. national socialism. it has not worked in cuba, venezuela, or bolivia or anywhere else. it is -- it has just about destroyed the european economy. if he gets reelected, it is
going to destroy hours as well. we have a chance to turn it all around. we must turn obama out in 2012. [applause] you know, the president, when he ran for office, he was a marvelous campaigner. lots of people voted for him because of his slogans. in fact, his principal slogan was "yes, we can." i have always wondered. what the hell does that mean? [laughter] does it mean, "yes, we can destroy the dollar?" "yes, we can return the country to runaway inflation?" "yes, we can keep unemployment over 9%?" yes, we can push americans into the food stamp lines.
just yesterday, when you watched the news this morning, just yesterday, his chief of staff said of his anti-business policies it is hard to defend the in defensible. let me try that again. it is hard to defend the in defensible, talking about his policies. ladies and gentlemen, candidate obama promised us hope and change. well, i hope to heck that we can change him out of the white house in 2012. [cheers and applause] the rev. got it half right. the chickens are coming home to roost. americans, let's restore and empower our constitutional rights and rebuild our nation
washington. you have helped to reaffirm the commitment and idea that america is so great, so thank you so much for being here. many of you may have heard that i have developed a reputation on the hill for my conservative passion. most before my accident. they do not always understand my accent. [laughter] [applause] you should understand what it feels like to need an interpreter because obviously washington needs one for us. because they still do not understand the message tweet send them back in november. when the american people said we do not want any more out of control spending, any more debt, and we sure as heck do not want any more meddling in our small businesses or rules that tell our domestic energy producers that we cannot drill
here or now to lower the price at the pump. but you see, washington just continues to ignore us. that is why it is so refreshing to come out here today and be with so many great americans who understand that our government is out of control in washington is broken and americans are still suffering. so many of the inspiring words of president reagan pertain to today's events. there is one simple quote that i would like to reflect on today. "as government expands, liberty contracts." think about that for a moment. "as government expands, liberty contracts." our founding fathers understood that freedom comes from our alienable rights. not by our government.
you know, ladies and gentlemen, i believe it is my responsibility as i serve in congress to be honest with the american people. i know that is an oxymoron coming from an elected official. let's be honest. our government has been on the attack of our freedoms. how are we free when so many of our citizens are dependent upon our government? hell are we free when the federal government with so many -- how are we free when the federal government with so many regulations that it seems to be that we are not a republic? where is the freedom in having our energy supply controlled by people in countries that hate us and want to destroy us? what liberties to we have when we have trillions of dollars in debt held by foreign investors,
and we are borrowing 40 cents on every dollar to increase the size of this government? how can our children and grandchildren pursue happiness when they are buried in miles of debt created by this government? the fact is, our government is failing us. it is time for the american people to take a stand and take back control of this exceptional nation. [applause] see, the problem is that washington, especially those that occupied the white house, have forgotten that it is the american people who control our government. i ran for congress to represent people, cut spending, reduce the deficit, and create jobs. i ran to put people of politics, and i am fighting every day to do just that. that is why when the president invited the republican
conference to the white house, i respectfully declined. [cheers and applause] you see, i believe i was sent to washington to be a different kind of congressmen. not one who is involved in difficult washington politics who have destroyed congress's credibility, bankrupted our country, left social security and medicare broke. i was elected to stay true to my principles. i was elected to stay true to you, to the constitution, to the american people, and not to the establishment. [applause] you see, if that meeting was going to be about detailed discussions on ways to cut spending and prevent adding
$2.40 trillion to our debt, i would have enthusiastically i attended. instead, i believe it was just an exercise in political theatrics to give the illusion that the president is committed to finding solutions. so, i declined. [applause] i believe that our tax dollars are better spent at my desk working to find those solutions. you know, for months, our republican conference has clearly stated what it would take for us to even consider raising the debt ceiling. the president did not need to waste our tax dollars, hauling hundreds of representatives across town to get that message. he could simply read that correspondence. the president knew this. his own press secretary said the meeting was not a forum for
specific advances in negotiation. as i was debating whether or not to attend, i was left with the question that i still have no answer for. what was the meeting's purpose other than for good ol' showmanship? at this critical juncture in history, americans need leadership and real solutions, not just more of the same old, same old. the president would be wise to heed the words of then senator obama who spoke on the floor of the u.s. senate on march 16, 2006, as he cast his vote not to raise the debt ceiling. when he said, "increasing america's debt weakens us domestically and internationally." leadership means the box tops here -- the buck stops here.
"instead, washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today on the backs of our children and grandchildren. america has a debt problem, and a failure of leadership, and we deserve better." but you see, the president insists he eladleads from behin. that is another way of saying, "i just want to follow." that is what i believe. but, you see, mr. president, america does not lead from behind. it leads from the front. [applause] and, so, mr. president, if you do not want to lead, get out of the way. [cheers and applause] you see, the american people do not need a president who has a
defeatist attitude i and. looking to join the european union. america needs a leader who understands that our best days are truly ahead of us, that america is still a shining light in the dark world. but if we are to insure that our best days are ahead of us, which must unleash our job creators and allow them to drill for american energy. [applause] we must unburden our small businesses and from taxes and red tape that hinders growth. we must make sure that our children and grandchildren are not left with debt that they cannot pay. it is incumbent upon every generation to pay its debt as it goes. we must return america to the roots of our founding fathers when they said that we are one nation, under god, and
indivisible. we can accomplish these things -- we cannot accomplish these things up by simply putting a republican in the white house. we must all make a commitment next year to continue to pick up seats in the house. [applause] and we have got to take control of that said. [cheers and applause] -- control of that senate. talk about a group of do-nothing guys under harry reid. it is about electing those who are committed to putting people above politics. [applause] and electing people who are willing to make the tough decisions and to be honest with the american people. [applause]
you see, there are many in congress that do not get it. they are listening to the american people -- they are not listening to the american people, but they are certainly working hard to make sure they get reelected so they can keep their seat. the difference between us and them is that we understand that those seats do not belong to them or me. they belong to you. [applause] these are your seats. if you are here today -- you are here today -- that means you have already joined the fight. we are the ones that must work tirelessly to energize, organize, and mobilize our friends, families, and neighbors to join us in this fight. ladies and gentlemen, we must send a message to washington, that you are either with the american people or you against
ian -- that night was ian. ian was a part of the recall on group that we worked so closely with. mark coordinated intervention as a battle captain for the fourth infantry division. when they were roommates at west point, they would both be a part of the forces that made history that night. returning to iraq with the same brigade about 15 months later, but now each of them in command of their own companies. ian was killed in action leading his troops in april 2006. both of us that serve with him paid our respects as he was laid to rest at arlington national cemetery. six months later after suffering a concussion and ignoring those injuries, mark led his troops in
a combat operation in which he was also killed by enemy fire in october 2006. i made another trip to the arlington national cemetery to pay my respects to yet another friend. at the burial, if you have been to the cemetery, they lay casualties in order that they are received. we noticed that when we buried mark, he was laid at the feet of ian weigel. roommates at the academy, best friends in battle, and now together in life-and-death. after the burial, and i walked around our nation's capital, trying to mentally process a great number of things. politicians on both sides of the aisle flaunt their chest about the hopelessness of our service and our mission in iraq. everywhere i turne